Staunton, May 2 – No one disputes that there are enough reasons on the ground for conflicts among the countries of Central Asia over borders and enclaves, but according to Moscow military analyst Vladimir Prokhvatilov, the number and intensity of such conflicts has increased because of Western civil society programs (fondsk.ru/news/2021/05/01/mjagkaja-sila-i-prigranichnye-konflikty-v-centralnoj-azii-53486.html).
According to the researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences, the Western effort in this direction was laid out in 2008 in an 88-page report, Central Asia: A Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding, that was paid for by British and Swiss governments (international-alert.org/sites/default/files/CentralAsia_PeacebuildingStrategicFramework_EN_2006.pdf).
Prokhvatilova says that the report discussed “how to neutralize the influence of the Russians and the Chinese” and how to involve other outside third parties in land disputes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, two of the report’s three “target” countries. Uzbekistan is the third.
At meetings Western countries sponsored with Kyrgyz NGOs, he says, participants were encouraged to think about issues involving borders and border trade and also how to talk about conflicts. Those who attended were given notebooks and two smartphones each (internews.kg/glavnye-novosti/konkurs-na-luchshij-material-po-prigranichnym-voprosam-dlya-zhurnalistov-kyrgyzstana-i-tadzhikistana/).
Follow-on efforts were conducted by the US-funded Internews Kazakhstan organization which encouraged the journalists it trained to focus on border issues and even arranged for some writers to travel to the Batken exclave where they were briefed on its particular problems (pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00X75W.pdf).
According to Prokhvatilov, the British have devoted particular attention to the exclave issue and through its MI-6 intelligence Service has financed polls and analyses about the situation in Vorukh (cawater-info.net/bk/water_law/pdf/isfara-batken-analysis.pdf).
Moreover, Western countries have set up youth centers in border areas and exclaves to focus the attention of people there on these problems. “In fact,” the Moscow security analyst says, what all this is about is the creation of an agent network which he says “has been created and is working.” Not surprisingly, the number of border and exclave disputes has gone up.