CSTO Council prepares for Afghan security threats
The CSTO should devise a “plan of practical actions in Afghanistan in order to minimize possible risks” Putin said at a meeting with the leaders of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Putin suggested the situation requires the special attention of the security organization in view of NATO’s planned withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. The Russian leader pointed to the timing of NATO’s pullout which corresponds with Afghanistan’s presidential elections.“This will most certainly lead to some additional tensions,” Putin noted. “We should take all of this into consideration in our work.”Ever since the US and NATO opened a military offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, Russia has been monitoring the situation as drug-trafficking and terrorist activity continue to plague the region. Earlier Putin criticized NATO’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan, saying the international force should stay until the job is finished. "It is regrettable that many participants in this operation are thinking about how to pull out of there," he said. "They took on this burden and should carry it out to the end."“It's in our interest that we should have peace on our southern borders," he told the member states, It is not just the security situation in Afghanistan, however, which concerns the CSTO. All of the countries of Eurasia are vulnerable to challenges to their sovereignty. In an unmistakable reference to the recent behavior of the United States and NATO, Putin said Russia plans to seek the creation – within the framework of the CSTO – of an “efficient partner network” for countering threats to security in Eurasia. The disregard of international law and attempts “to impose one’s own template on other countries can lead to the most serious consequences,” the Russian President warned. “The dramatic development of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa are visual proof to that.”The US and NATO have shown a marked tendency for interfering in the affairs of other countries, including in Iraq and more recently Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi was murdered at the hands of a mob following an intense NATO aerial bombing campaign.Other CSTO member states pledged their support of the organization and the initiatives it endorses.Pavel Lyogky, spokesman for Belarusian PresidentAlexander Lukashenko, said Minsk has repeatedly advocated “the need for closer cooperation in the CSTO format in foreign policy, as well as in the realm of military-technological cooperation.He also spoke on the need to raise the international prestige of the organization. Belarus would like to see the CSTO cooperate with the United Nations in peacekeeping missions, and "interaction of this kind with NATO can't be ruled out either," the spokesman said.Meanwhile, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev advanced a number of proposals at an expanded session of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Council. Nazarbayev suggested strengthening "joint activities to combat drug trafficking, in particular, from Afghanistan." He also suggested "setting up special teams of Emergency Situations Ministries of CSTO member-states and organizing their training and instruction so they could lend their assistance to each other at any time." He offered the training range near Astana, Kazakhstan for the purpose of conducting coordinated emergency exercises.Robert Bridge, RT