A US-Russia Deal on Afghanistan?
The recent Geneva summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden may have yielded at least one positive result. Biden may well find a way to accept Putin’s reported offer to permit the US to use Russian military bases in Central Asia in order to continue ensuring security in Afghanistan.
BISHKEK – During their June 16 Geneva summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly offered US President Joe Biden the use of Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in order to coordinate actions vis-à-vis Afghanistan. The Kremlin’s motives, of course, are not altruistic. Russia wants to prevent the United States from building its own bases in the region. But Putin’s offer is tempting, and Biden may well find a way to accept it.
Central Asia, a region nearly the size of the European Union nestled between Russia and China, is thus back in international headlines – again because of bad news, and again in connection with the violence and instability in Afghanistan. Biden’s decision to withdraw the remaining US troops from the country will bring to an end a 20-year war that has cost America nearly $2.3 trillion and failed to achieve any of its goals. And analysts now warn that the ongoing Taliban offensive could lead to full-scale civil war, a surge in drug trafficking, massive migration, and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism to neighboring countries.
The results of the US-led war were disastrous. According to official figures, 2,312 US military personnel have been killed, and 20,666 wounded, in Afghanistan since 2001. And more than 3,800 US private-security contractors have lost their lives.