Expert: Kazakhstan has more chances to solve Afghanistan’s problem among countries presiding in OSCE

Feb. 9. Trend News

V. Zhavoronkova

Kazakhstan among all countries presiding in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will be close to solving the problem of Afghanistan, U.S. expert on Central Asia Bruce Pannier said.

“I’m not sure Kazakhstan, as chairman of the OSCE, can fully solve the problems in Afghanistan but Astana is much closer to solve this country’s problem than any other countries presiding in OSCE,” Pannier told Trend News via e-mail.

In 2010 Kazakhstan became chairman of the OSCE. According to official Astana, aiming at constructive cooperation in resolving the challenges and security threats are among the basic principles of Kazakhstan presiding in OSCE. According to observers, a serious threat to security in Central Asia is an unstable situation in Afghanistan neighboring with other countries in the region.

“Afghanistan’s problems are a potential threat to all of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan,” Freedom radio expert Pannier said.

He said the advantage of Kazakhstan is the fact that Astana has monitored events in Afghanistan long before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, after which the anti-terrorist coalition has initiated its operations in the country.

Beyond that, Kazakhstan is considered as Central Asian country and the Kazakhs certainly are Central Asian people. Therefore, many Afghan groups may find it easier to work with a country that can be seen as a distant cousin, rather than Europeans, Pannier said.

Still, the more worldly Afghans understand Kazakhstan’s term as OSCE chairman is short and in one year there is only so much any country could hope to accomplish.

Kazakhstan, as OSCE chairman, will likely follow the lead of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in encouraging some sort of reconciliation dialogue with moderate Taliban figures, but Astana will continue to be staunchly against deals with terrorists.

On the other hand, the Taliban doubtless remember that Kazakhstan is a part of the Soviet Union and Kazakhs made up part of the Soviet troops sent to Afghanistan in the 1980s, Pannier said.

“This is the fact that Kazakhstan is becoming rich as a result of partnerships with Russia and oil sales to Europe. It can be sufficient ground for radical Taliban for propaganda aimed to denigrate the efforts of Kazakhstan,” expert said.