Kazakhstan witnesses quick pull out of CSTO forces: Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan was quick to request the support of members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This was after a planned uprising occurred that witnessed two members of the security forces being beheaded. Therefore, militant opposition forces highlighted the non-democratic nature of the crisis – even if some protesters were genuine.
Tokayev told internal security forces to “use lethal force without warning.” He could take this stance on the knowledge that the CSTO promised immediate military and political support.
Modern Tokyo Times reported, “The CSTO bloc consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, and Tajikistan. If the CSTO contains the crisis – alongside the security apparatus of Kazakhstan – it will be interesting to see if Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (initial member of the CIS Collective Security Treaty) take note and join the CSTO. After all, apart from internal political struggles in Kyrgyzstan, the other nations, after the initial turmoil in Tajikistan many decades ago, have been relatively stable under traditional political elites.”
TASS News reports, “In compliance with a decision by the CSTO Collective Security Council made on January 6, 2022, the organization’s collective peacekeeping forces were sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period to stabilize and normalize the situation in the Central Asian republic. The peacekeeping contingent comprised units of the armed forces of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.”
Immediately, the CSTO and internal Kazakhstan security forces were quick to restore order – even if the long-term political situation remains fragile until reforms are introduced concerning economics, politics, and social issues. Hence, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation declared, “Overall, it’s time to return home. We have accomplished our task.”
It won’t be fully known if stability returns to Kazakhstan until several weeks and months later. However, the omens look positive concerning the swift response of the CSTO, the internal security forces who gained confidence from the support shown by other nations, and the political support provided by nations within the CSTO.
Thus, it will be interesting to see the future response of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. For example, convulsions in Afghanistan would directly impact more on Central Asian nations if it wasn’t for the role of the Russian Federation and the CSTO.
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan could face similar problems in the future. After all, these nations share similar political dynamics under the traditional ruling elites – despite internal differences concerning the ethnic angle, economic development, and so forth.
The Associated Press reports, “Troops of a Russia-led security alliance were preparing to pull out of Kazakhstan on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The withdrawal comes only a week after they were deployed to the ex-Soviet nation on the request of its president, who was seeking to quell extremely violent mass protests.”
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will have noted the Afghanistan debacle and how forces backed by NATO powers crumbled rapidly. This relates to the decisions implemented by President Joe Biden, who took air cover away from Afghan forces and other important angles without a gradual reduction. Equally, Biden couldn’t even wait for the winter period that is militarily more quiet in Afghanistan. Instead, it was a botched operation that took the rug from underneath the armed forces of Afghanistan, who had died in vast numbers before the shoddy pull out of American troops.
Hence, if stability returns to Kazakhstan – and reforms are implemented concerning economics, politics, and social issues – then important questions will be raised internally in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan about the importance of the CSTO and the speed of the response.
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