RUSSIALINK: “Russian general warns of Central Asia ‘crisis’ by 2020” – Interfax
(Interfax – May 15, 2019)
A senior Russian general has issued a warning about the worsening security situation in Central Asia, including in Afghanistan, suggesting the region could experience a crisis by next year.
“In the Central Asia strategic zone there remains a steady tendency of a worsening military-political situation, which by 2020 is capable of reaching crisis-level significance,” Col-Gen Alexander Lapin, commander of the troops in the Central Military District, told a meeting with heads of defence corporations in the Urals Federal District on 15 May.
“Terrorist activity by the Taliban has increased by 30 per cent in comparison with the equivalent period in 2018, and the number of IS [so-called Islamic State] armed gangs is up threefold since 2016,” Lapin was quoted saying by the Interfax news agency.
Lapin also said that the situation in Afghanistan is continuing to worsen and it “could become a new refuge not only for IS members, but also for other terrorist organisations, from where they will disperse over the all Eurasian continent”.
According to Interfax, he said there are 6,000 IS supporters in Afghanistan, whereas there were 1,900 in 2016.
“By means of carrying out undertakings of strategic deterrence, including on the part of the Central Military District, it has been possible to prevent a worsening of the situation in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and also to maintain a favourable information situation for the activities of the troops of the district on the territories of these states,” Lapin said.
Interfax noted that the 201st military base in Tajikistan and the Kant air base in Kyrgyzstan are structurally subordinate to the Central Military District.