VADUZ, Liechtenstein, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Russia fears the destabilising spread of radical Islam along its southern borders once Nato troops pull out of Afghanistan in 2014 .
'The Kremlin fears a possible return to the situation of the 1990s, when militant groups extended their activities from Afghanistan into central Asia, seriously devastating both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan," writes World Review expert Professor Stefan Hedlund.
Russia, which has plans to set up military maintenance bases within Afghanistan to service the Afghan army's weapons, could find itself having to shoulder the burden of preserving stability and security - a task its military is far from ready to carry out, adds Professor Hedlund, Research Director at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, at Uppsala University, Sweden.
'If the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, as it is likely to do, these Russian troops will be exposed.'
'Once the International Security Assistance Force ends its mission in Afghanistan, neither the US or EU will have any interest in getting pulled back in,' says Professor Hedlund.
The nightmare scenario for Moscow is a parallel slide of both Afghanistan and neighbouring Uzbekistan into open civil war. 'The likelihood that this will happen is worryingly high,' he says.
'What makes this combined scenario of such concern is that Russia simply does not have the resources to deal with one, much less both, of these contingencies.
'Despite much talk about massive military rearmament, the Russian military remains in a shambles,' he adds.
About the author
World Review author Stefan Hedlund is Professor and Research Director at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, at Uppsala University, Sweden. He trained as an economist and has specialised in Russian affairs since the final days of Leonid Brezhnev in the early 1980s. His research interests have branched far beyond economics over the years but have, above all, included a devouring interest in Russian history.
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