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Aggravation of Situation in Afghanistan Likely Aimed at Stopping SCO Enlargement: Expert

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The United States is using the aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan to prevent the enlargement of an alliance of governments with giant economic and political potential – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a leading researcher at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Azhdar Kurtov said Wednesday.

MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova - The United States is using the aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan to prevent the enlargement of an alliance of governments with giant economic and political potential – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a leading researcher at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Azhdar Kurtov said Wednesday.

"The aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan which borders former Soviet space states, is probably aimed at striking the hands of all US geopolitical competitors, and against forming the alliance of governments who have a giant potential," Kurtov said at a press conference on Afghanistan, held at the press center of Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.

"All the events that we are witnessing today – the activation of anti-governmental movements in Hong Kong, US and its allies' brazen position over Ukraine, another cynical onset on the Syrian government which violates international law. The United States has decided 'to shoot the works', to change its foreign policy toward more intransigence, cynicism, and the use of force in dealing with people," he said, pointing out that the last SCO summit stated that the enlargement of the organization is possible and in the near future.

"The two countries that are most likely to join, and one of them borders Afghanistan – are Pakistan and India," Azhdar Kurtov noted.

Another expert on Afghanistan, Andrey Kazantsev said that Central Asia is now a ground for the game for influence, while solving the problems of the country would have been easier if the major global powers united their efforts.

"Central Asia is now a region where people are playing for influence. If Russia, the United States, China and NATO members agreed to stand together in the fight against the challenges coming from Afghanistan, such as terrorism or drugs, a significant part of those problems could have been at least mitigated, if not solved. But the problem is that everyone has tried to solve the issues on their own," Andrei Kazantsev, Director of the Analytical Center at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations said Wednesday.

He noted that in the context of strained relations between Russia and the United States, it has become extremely difficult to solve the Afghanistan crisis, and to ensure security in Central Asia.

On September 29, new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn into office. The next day, Afghanistan, the United States and NATO signed a deal to formally justify the presence of a limited military contingent in the Central Asian state after the formal withdrawal of international forces. A follow-on force of about 12,000 troops is likely to stay into 2015 on training and support duties.

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