Photo: Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

Eurasian States to Tighten Borders with Afghanistan Amid Terrorism Threats

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of six Eurasian countries, is planning to strengthen its border with Afghanistan due to the increasing security threat emanating from the country to its member states.

The Secretary General of CSTO, Imangali Tasmagambetov, told the Russian news agency TASS that efforts are underway to adopt the organization’s Target Interstate Program aimed at strengthening sections of the Tajikistan and Afghanistan border areas.

“The draft program has been approved by the CSTO Permanent Council and submitted to relevant agencies in member countries for coordination,” he said.  Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as two CSTO member states, according to the organization’s chief, are particularly worried about the extent of threats emanating from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has increased security concerns among neighboring countries, including CSTO member states. These concerns arise from the potential resurgence of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and others, all of which pose a significant threat to regional stability.

Over the past two years, the CSTO officials have repeatedly expressed concerns regarding the presence of international terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, particularly in the northern parts of the country.

“There is an increasing risk that terrorist groups and extremist ideas will infiltrate the territories of our CSTO allies,” the CSTO Secretary General had previously said. “Complex threats coming from Afghanistan are of particular concern.” 

Last year, the former Chief of the CSTO Joint Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Sidorov claimed that the Islamic State – Khorasan province (ISKP) had amassed up to 6,500 members, with 4,000 located along Tajikistan’s southern borders in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Takhar provinces.

“Besides, the policy of oppressing ethnic and religious minorities adopted by the Taliban leadership, as well as the lack of unity and growing discord among the Taliban movement, the deteriorating economic situation and the mounting humanitarian problems, contribute to the destabilization of the situation in the region,” Sidorov noted.

It’s not only the region that is concerned about the presence of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan; the UN and US authorities have also repeatedly voiced concerns about the Taliban’s sheltering and treatment of these groups within the country.

In a report last month, the member states of the UN Security Council said that terrorist groups in Afghanistan enjoy greater freedom than ever before in recent history. The report also said that there are no recent indications that the Kabul regime has taken measures to restrict the activities of these terrorist groups within the country.

Earlier this week, General Michael E. Kurilla, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief, criticized the Taliban for harboring extremist groups in Afghanistan, warning that the presence of these groups in the country could destabilize the region.

The top US general elaborated that extremist groups “exploit Afghanistan’s poor economic conditions and lax governance to recruit, train, and sustain an expanding cadre of fighters.”

The Taliban authorities, however, have repeatedly claimed that they won’t allow any group or individual to use the territory of Afghanistan against other countries. On the other hand, they emphasize that foreigners should not interfere in “Afghanistan’s internal affairs.”