Q&A: The Talibans Success and the Impact on Central Asia
In recent weeks in Afghanistan, Taliban military units have scored a string of battlefield successes against the forces of the northern alliance, led by Ahmad Shah Massoud. The victories could help the Taliban consolidate their power in Afghanistan, while raising the threat of instability in the neighboring countries of Central Asia. Russian officials have suggested that Massoud fighters may be allowed to cross into Tajikistan. Meanwhile, representatives of the Uzbek government of President Islam Karimov have engaged in stabilization talks with Taliban envoys. EurasiaNet posed questions about the recent gains made by the Taliban to Barnett R. Rubin, the Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. Mr. Rubin is a leading expert on Afghanistan. His comments follow:
EurasiaNet: What are the implications of the Taliban battlefield gains for stability in Central Asia?
Rubin: On the one hand, if the Taliban continue to advance to the northeast, this will make the supply and infiltration routes of both the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan [IMU] and drug traders coming from the main opium-producing regions of Afghanistan somewhat easier. It might lead to the flight of refugees into Tajikistan. Less likely,