Collapse of Enduring Freedom: Security in the SCO Area

Author: A.F. KLIMENKO

Lt. Gen. A.F. KLIMENKO (Ret), Candidate of Military Sciences

Abstract. The author discusses security on the landmass taken up by the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and closely scrutinizes Islamic fundamentalism dressing up in our times as the Islamic State (of Iraq and Levant, or Syria, to give the full unabbreviated name of ISIS), the Taliban, or whatever names its proponents choose to call it - that is raising its head in Afghanistan after the failure of Operation Enduring Freedom and withdrawal of the Western coalition's main forces from that country, and sheds light on the U.S.'s ill-fated role in the erosion of stability in the region. The author also argues for the need to strengthen the SCO's military arm to keep its enormous expanses secure and stable, and offers his recommendations on enhancing the Organization's power and capabilities to give its members a sense of protection and security.

Keywords: Central Asian region, Islamic State, Taliban, international cooperation, Islamic fundamentalism, defense, security.

Last October, Moscow hosted an International Conference on Afghanistan that had been planned and guided through by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD). Army General Gerasimov, chief of the Armed Forces' General Staff, said in his opening address that much of the heartland in Syria and Iraq had been overrun by the ISIS terrorists who cannot be dislodged from their positions and captured cities and towns by the forces of the U.S.-led counterterrorist coalition. Apart from Syria and Iraq, developments are at their worst in Afghanistan. The terrorists' growing activity is a drag on the country's life, while the ample outflow of drugs, weapons, and trained militants from Afghanistan carries a threat to its neighbors, primarily Central Asian countries that, with the sole exception of Turkmenistan, are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At this point of his address, the General Staff Chief made a pitch: "We have to look ...

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