Central Asia: October 10, 2001


While Russia can be expected to provide little practical support for the US campaign in Afghanistan, the Russians will probably use the campaign as an opportunity to clean up "Soviet Central Asia" and the Caucasus. For years, a network of Islamic extremists (some backed by Iran, others by the Taliban) have been infiltrating the former Soviet republics, threatening their stability. With the US throwing its weight around in Afghanistan, supplies and support for the extremists in Central Asia may be reduced, and annoying press attention (which often condemned the brutal Russian campaign in Chechnya) will be focused elsewhere.--Stephen V Cole


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