Central Asia’s Perfect Storm

FLORENCE – Dean Acheson, US President Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, liked to quote a friend who said that being in government made him scared, but that being out of it made him worried. To those of us not privy to the hidden complexities of NATO’s military intervention in Afghanistan, the situation there – and across Central Asia -- is extremely worrisome.

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai is said by his critics to be on the verge of casting his lot with Pakistan and the Taliban, the Pentagon has signaled its fear that the war may spread beyond the Pashtun heartland to the largely Tajik and Uzbek areas in the north of the country. The US is reportedly constructing a $100 million “Special Operations Complex” near Mazar-i-Sharif across the border from Uzbekistan.