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CSTO member states to convene


CSTO member states to convene

Photo: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation’s (CSTO) member states will convene today to discuss continued multilateral security cooperation.

Comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, the CSTO, though originally formed as a counterbalance to NATO, is currently primarily focused on increasing cooperation on counterterrorism and peacekeeping operations. This has not prevented Russia from sidelining the organisation when it sees fit, as evidenced by the use of solely Russian peacekeepers in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

However, with the US now withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, the CSTO is poised to assume new significance. To this end, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed a desire to increase the organisation’s efforts of securing member states’ borders with Afghanistan.

Expect today’s meeting to stress the importance of cooperation on counterterrorism operations. In the short-term, expect the CSTO to deploy forces to the Tajik borders of Afghanistan, as well as the Kazakh, Kyrgz, and Tajik borders of Uzbekistan. In securing Uzbek borders, the CSTO will be positioned to attack one of the most common drug smuggling corridors used to fund regional terrorist activity. However, as the CSTO has heavily relied on traditional military and peacekeeping activities, it is unlikely to effectively combat the irregular warfare tactics recently adopted by many Islamist extremists.

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