Afghanistan A Power Hub of Different Players and its Way

Research Paper
Asifa Jahangir
Student M.Phil 3rd Semester
Department of International Relations
Faculty of Contemporary Studies
Title: “Afghanistan: A Power Hub of Different Players and its Way
Afghanistan has been become the center of world politics since the last two centuries. Geopolitical
significance of the poorest land made it a battlefield first in the first Great Game and later in the Russian
invasion of 1979. This sequence of wars either in any form is still continued today. The land of
Afghanistan and its people have paid a heavy cost in the shape of severe massive killings, complete
destruction of infrastructure, and unexpected political and economic devastation during a long thirty
years of continual infighting, civil war and now war on Terror.
Unfortunately, Afghani soil is being used by the different entities in different times by different means.
As a result, it has become a cockpit of regional and trans-regional players who used/are using the land
for their own vested interests in the region especially after the emergence of Central Asian States in the
heart of Asian continent, and Chinese rise as a potential economical and military power. These powers
have manipulated Afghan people and forcibly indulged them in different proxy wars. As the result of
9/11 incident, the Afghan invasion led by the USA and its allies caused heavy sabotage just ten years
period which was not made even in the earlier twenty years of September 11. Moreover, these players
either for their own faults or any other reasons give punish to Afghan people and Pakistan. Afghanistan
critical situation, insurgency and wars have spill-over effect mostly over Pakistan in particular and
region in general.
Moreover, since the watershed events of 9/11 tragic incident created many problems like security,
terrorism, drug trafficking, economic recession etc not only within Afghan society and region in
particular; but also across the globe as a whole on the one hand and led to the ouster of the Taliban
regime and subsequently coming into power of newly UN backed government in Afghanistan on the
other hand.1 Since then the Northern Alliance (NA) would take part in talks over the future set-up in
Afghanistan.2 On the other side, the very critical situation of Afghanistan compelled international
community to move forward to peace process. As a result, the first document ‘Bonn Agreement of
November 2001’ proved a positive development and indicated that the Afghans had realized that
Maqsudul Hasan Nuri, “The ‘Afghan Corridor’: Prospects for Pakistan-CAR Relations, Post-Taliban?”, Current Affairs
Digest (March 2003), p. 94.
‘NA Okays UN Plan for New Government’, The Dawn (20 November, 2001).
enough and it was time for the restoration of peace, national reconciliation, reconstruction and
Manifold efforts were done and are still going on for the most suitable outcome of Afghan crisis by the
present Afghan Government, the USA and its allies, and regional players but no vain. By spending
billions of dollars on war and peace, the superpower and its allies could not have found durable result in
the poorest and most underdeveloped country. Concurrently, in the early months of closing year of the
very first decade of twenty-first century, an effort has been made by the British Foreign Secretary David
Miliband’s ‘How to end the War in Afghanistan’. It might be a full and final endeavor by the Western
world. Various efforts were done and are still going on for the Western side and will determine “a new
politics for a new world”4 because it is being stated by the analysts that today the world powers have lost
much than as they gained in the war on terror. But no solution for Afghanistan will be viable and durable
without the individual as well as collective effort of all players. In this regard, to things are very
important: one is the role of Afghan government itself and particularly Pakistan’s cannot be neglected,
and the other one is the degree of ‘practicality’ does matter a lot too that how any solution for
Afghanistan is realistically practical and credible?
The case of Afghanistan requires a critical and deep study regarding understanding prevalent situation in
the country and trying to apply any plan of action in future matched with the ground realities because
there are many impediments for successful implementation of any Afghan peace process. The current
Afghan crisis must have analysed at three levels – within Afghanistan, regional and international – by
studying all stakeholders’ concerns, interests, and finally prospects. In fact, any proposal specifically
Miliband’s one (described in Future Roadmap portion in detail) is theoretically quite good but indeed its
practicality too sceptical and impossible due to every state’s own interests. Figure No. 2.1
Babur Shah, “Geo-Strategic Patterns of a Post-Taliban Afghanistan”, in Musa Khan Jalalzi (ed.), The Foreign Policy of
Afghanistan (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2003), p. 327.
Tom Coghlan, “Afghanistan’s Uncertain Future”, Far Eastern Economic Review, Vol. 168, No. 8 (September 2005), p. 28.
(A) Afghanistan’s Internal Problems, Interests, Implications and Prospects
Problems: Not only Miliband’s proposal relating to peace in Afghanistan, many other peace proposals
have been put forward but no one could be successful in the presence of prevalent challenges in
Afghanistan. The country has adversely trapped in vicious circle of the challenges like incompetent,
weak and corrupt government, security, poverty, spreading insurrection from the Taliban, suicide
attacks, the collateral damage caused by America and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force),
kidnapping, opium production, disappointment and disillusionment of indigenous Afghans, a great fear
of the future, unclear and inconsistent policy of Afghan government and its sponsors to Afghanistan’s
security and development, creating problems in neighboring states especially along its eastern border
with Pakistan’.5 Installation of Humid Karzai as a president of pro-Western government is causing to
promote radicalization and extremism within Afghanistan and northern belt of Pakistan
Situation of Afghanistan under Karzai Government and Response of International Community:
Karzai government since Bonn agreement is in power but it has not done as much as was being
expected. The reason of it is that it has preserved its own interests and not focused in improving
Afghanistan situation. As an international Crisis Group report pointed out that ‘President Karzai’s
government still lacks the political will to tackle a culture of impunity and to end political interference in
the appointment and operation for police’.6 But the Obama administration has no alternative option
despite his growing unpopularity at home and abroad. According to a survey carried out ABC News, the
BBC and ARD German TV in collaboration with the Afghan Centre for Scio-Economic and Opinion
Research, support for Karzai has declined 83% in 2005 to 52% in 2008, while support has also
plummeted from 80% in 2005 to 49% in 2008.7 Afghanistan accounts for 90% of the world’s production
of opium. Just in Helmand Province, producers of half the world’s opium, upwards of 65% of people say
it is acceptable and that’s why cultivation of crop size grown due to of earning much money.8 The best
examples corruption and incompetency can be taken just December 2009 back. After winning the
second run-off-race, Karzai presented his first list of 24 cabinet nominees to the Afghan Parliament (AP)
on 19 December, 2009, but 17 out of the total were rejected on 2 January, 2010, by the AP due to having
Willem Vogelsang, The Afghans (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Publication, 2008), p. 33.
Amina Khan, “Afghan Presidential Election August 2009”, Reflections, No. 3 (Islamabad: Institute of Strategic Studies,
2009), p. 38.
Fisnik Abrashi, “Karzai: Afgans, US in ‘Gentle Wrestling’ Match”, Afghanistan Monitor (10 February, 2009).
Colonel Michael V. Schleicher, “NATO in Afghanistan: A Political Military Alliance at War”, National Defense University
Journal, Vol. II (2008), p. 96.
picked up for several reasons other than their competency. A member of parliament blamed that they
had been picked up largely based on ‘ethnicity, bribery or money’. On 16 January, 2010, he replaced
those 17 accused persons but again 10 out of total strength rejected either having connection with
warlords or not qualified for their concerned posts.9
Outcomes: As a consequence, the local Afghans are becoming aware of malgovernance and taking
interest in political issues of country but this thing is confined only in urban areas. Due to public and
world’s active pressures Karzai’s government is trying to improve their performance and removing the
above-mentioned diseases from Afghan society. The alternative solution of Karzai’s problem had been
thought that there should be a new chief executive or prime ministerial post must create primarily for a
division of responsibilities between the central and local powers. The objective of this new arrangement
would be to divert the money from central government to provinces. Someone reliable can check over
Karzai and be accountable to both the Afghan as well as the international community but he rejected this
new proposal.10 To bring the Taliban in mainstream, the authorities have suggested that 5,000 Taliban
members have agreed to lay down their arms. Some of those are thought to be local farmers who have
been helping the insurgents for the princely sum of 5£ a day. On December 12, 2008, the UK Prime
Minister Gorden Brown told the members of parliament (MPs), “If they are prepared to renounce
violence and abide by the constitution and respect basic human rights, then there is a place for them in
the legitimate society and economy of Afghanistan”.11 Due to having lack of liability, Karzai
government had to face severe criticism in 2009 run-off races by the USA officials as well as
international media. But Karzai defended this criticism efficiently,
“‘Total fabricated, there were instances of fraud, no doubt......’ ‘Afghanistan has itself
separate problems and we have to handle them as Afghanistan finds it to feasible....This
country was completely destroyed....Today, we are talking about fighting corruption in
Afghanistan improved legal standards.....You see the glass half empty or half full. I see it
as half full, others see it as full empty’.”12
“Humid Karzai”, Available on (Retrieved at 11/18/2010).
Ibid., pp. 40-41.
Sir Cyril Townsend, “Struggle for Future of Afghanistan Stretches out” on Arab News, Afghanistan and Central Asia
(Islamabad: Institute of Strategic Studies, 16-31 January, 2008), p. 30.
“Humid Karzai”, Available on Retrieved at 11/28/2010
External Dimension: At Regional and International levels
At the regional and international levels, Afghanistan itself and Pakistan as its proximate neighbour are
very significant. Beside the role of other stakeholders cannot be ignored.
External Powers’ Interests and Prospects:
Due to the presence of number of problems, it was being stated that the Afghan war cannot be won
without reviewing Afghan policy and turning to pacific settlement with Taliban. This reality has been
accepted at large. As Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith after serving in Afghanistan stressed that if the
Afghan war cannot be won decisively then it should end in a negotiated peace settlement which is
acceptable to both sides. President Karzai has now too become convinced that the stability of
Afghanistan is indeed linked with the participation of Taliban in a negotiated peace settlement.13
President Obama put it that America would not go to succeed simply by piling no more and more troops.
The same of views has described by British PM Gorden Brown that the Afghan crisis need ‘not just
military push but a political push too.
As he has greatly emphasized over enlarging scope of cooperation and stability in region, but the picture
of Afghanistan’s peace is not so simple. Each and every state is pursuing its own interests without
realizing the pathetic and sensitivity of Afghan prolonged crisis. Actually, Afghanistan terrible situation
is somehow headache to all concerned players; however, its geostrategic location makes it important.
According to Halford John Mackinder’s Heartland Theory, Afghanistan will be the part of his predicted
heartland area in near future. That is why Afghan political settlement is closely being associated not
merely with Afghanistan’s future but also with the another New World Order in which focal centre of all
Asian and major players’ would be toward Afghanistan and Central Asian states. The same thing has
described by a socialist Malalai Joya in Toronto in her research on 19 November, 2009, ‘Foreign
Powers’ only interest in Afghanistan...“is a geographical one”. They want easy access to the gas and oil
of the Central Asian Republics.’14 Amongst the regional and trans-regional players, the pivotal role is
Pakistan, however, the share of others are too important. The major regional and superpower would have
to play their eminent role because their interests are at stake in this new emerging battlefield of energy
Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, “Unwinnable Afghan war”, The Post (12 October, 2008).
John Foster’s lecture on “Pipelines: The New Great Game”, Available on (Retrieved at 11/28/2010
2:31 pm)
Regional Powers
Pakistan: It has very close geographical, religious and cultural proximity with Afghanistan. But their
relations have seen many ups and downs.
Pakistan’s concerns are from Afghanistan, regional and global powers. There are trans-border
insurgency in Afghanistan directly affected Pakistan’s northern belt, increasing radicalization in the
Pushtun society, confronting outlooks on Durand Line, Afghan Diaspora in Pakistan, unsafe AfghanPakistan Border, Deep Indian ingress, India’s increasing hegemonic designs overshadowing Pakistan’s
political, economic and strategic interests15, internally – growing militancy and suicide attacks against
pro-Western government within Pakistan, immense economic recession, political and societal damage,
uncertainty about the future of Pakistan among its masses.16
Pakistan’s Legitimate and Long Term Interests in Afghanistan and Afghanistan’s Concerns
toward Pakistan:
Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan are as follows:
Strategic interests: Maintain territory integrity, secure eastern and western borders.17
Political interests: Pakistan wants to see strong, stable and united Afghanistan, with a Pakistan-friendly
government, giving the Pushtuns their due share in power.18
Economic interests: A peaceful Afghanistan that enables the laying of oil and gas pipelines from CARs
and makes Pak-Iran-India pipeline project successful, through Afghan territory to Pakistan.19 In this
way, Pakistan could be able to fulfil its increasing demand of industry at home. Moreover, CARs
represent a huge market for Pakistani goods.
Mowahid Hussain Shah, “The Long Duel”, The Nation (11 December, 2009).
Willem Vogelsang, Op.Cit., pp. 339-343.
Lt. Col. Ateeq, “Resurgence of Talibans – Challenges for Afghanistan Government and Implications for Pakistan”,
(Islamabad: National Defence University, 2008-09), p. 42.
Lieutenant Colonel Hamid Usman, “Afghanistan Solution – Options for Pakistan”, National Defense University Journal
(June 2005), p. 53.
On the other hand, Afghanistan has also few concerns from Pakistan20 like the insurgency within
Afghanistan could not exit as it is today with support of Pakistan. Moreover, the insurgency’s revival is
a function of increased flow of jihadists plus money, and militarily assistance from within Pakistan. The
element of Taliban was created by Pakistani armies and intelligence agencies to secure Pakistan from
communism as a means to extend its own leverage in the land of Afghanistan. Militant Taliban and
insurgents were/are openly being trained and recruited in Quetta and continued the support to tribal
warlords in its frontier provinces and Afghanistan’s as well. Pakistan promoted Islamic radicalization on
the will of America for its own economic and security interests within the country and Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani has described two main concerns to General David
Petraeus who replaced General Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan before making new Af-Pak strategy
by Patraeus:21
Despite the need for peace between India and Pakistan, Pakistan’s national security doctrine
requires it to weigh New Delhi’s expanding military capability and regional influence in
Afghanistan rather than its professed peaceable intentions because “intentions could change at
any time”. Therefore, India remains a constant threat.
Pakistan needs a “stable, peaceful and friendly” Afghanistan, not “neutral” but “friendly”
because of the India factor. New Delhi is establishing a hegemonic foothold in Kabul. In the
past, secular-communist or pro-India regimes in Kabul like Karzai’s have refused to accept the
Durand Line as the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and coveted
Pakistan’s Pushtun areas. Under the circumstances, Islamabad seeks to establish guarantees that
the Pakhtuns of Afghanistan will look to Kabul for nationhood and the Pakhtuns of Pakistan,
who number more than those of Afghanistan, will not be distracted from looking to Islamabad
for theirs. Therefore, Pakistan requires “soft strategic depth” in Afghanistan.
One of the major threats to Pakistan’s security is rapidly growing close relationship among India,
Israel and the USA in Afghanistan. As it has best described by Muhammad Zulfiqar Khan
Carl Robichaud, “Remember Afghanistan? A Glass Half Full, On The Titanic”, Current Affairs Digest (February 2008), p.
“Road to Kabul” (editorial), The Friday Times, Vol. XXII, No. 20 (July 2-8, 2010).
Muhammad Zulfiqar Khan Niazi, “Indo-Israel-US nexus: Security Implications for Pakistan”, p. 65.
“As the USA-India-Israel strategic partnership becomes institutionalized, Pakistan’s
threat perception regarding India’s heightened military proficiency–stemming from
military-to-military contacts and joint exercises between India, Israel and US air forces
and navies – also heightens thereby further widening the gap between the armed forces
of the two South Asian rivals. It is frustrating for Pakistan that, while it is going all the
way in ameliorating America’s threat perceptions related to al-Qaeda”.
Another strategic threat to Pakistan is from US drone attacks in south of the country which
are fuelling local resentment and causing growing flux of refugees. The UN’s Philip Alston
has condemned the “PlayStation mentality” of the drone pilots who usually operate from
Colorado, and whose operations have led to the death of more than 600 civilians in
northern Pakistan over the past year23.
Pakistan’s Strategies: Pakistan has shrewdly tackled its concerns and interests. At the time of 9/11 and
in War on Terror, Pakistan decided to play a frontline state role for its survival and is still actively
fighting against militants in its own land. She has extended intense and vast operations of Pakistan’s
forces to counter Western claim that the North and South Waziristan has become a sanctuary of
terrorism and fundamentalism. Pakistan has shown serious response to Afghans’ concern over
Pakistan’s past role in Afghanistan and is trying to remove them by committing full cooperation and
conciliation regarding sustainable peace and consistent developmental procedure within its proximate
neighbour. Pakistan’s same commitment can be seen at international forums as well.
Outcomes: The war on terrorism put diversified impacts on Pakistan. During the last ten years since
9/11, almost 22,000 people have been killed in-between suicide attacks, surgical strikes by NATO and
USA, military operations by Pakistan army etc. Terrorism inside Pakistan has doubled since 9/11.
Pakistan had to face direct threats of the Al-Qaeda and Taliban. Terrorists killed 907 people and injured
1,543 others in Pakistan in 2006. In the year 2007, terrorist attacks resulted in 3,448 casualties from
1,503 attacks and clashes according to Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) security report.24
Terrorism in Pakistan is mainly a result of Pakistan's support of the US in return for American financial
and military support. Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists accuse Pakistan governments’ decision
fighting America’s war on its land against own people because they view America as the devil and any
cooperation with the US as an affront to Islam.
Available Online: (Retrieved at 11/29/2010)
Robert Fox, “Is There an End in Sight in Afghanistan”, The Nation (Islamabad), (June 22, 2010), p. 10.
Mir Jamilur Rahman, “Terrorism and Us”, The News (27 August, 2008).
India: Afghanistan is not an immediate neighbour of today’s India but due to sharing common history
and emotional proximity with pre-partitioned India, have entered into close and mature friendship.25
After Soviet invasion, India is taking more interests in Afghanistan politics because Pakistan cashes its
geopolitical location a lot on every occasion. India is investing large amount in Afghanistan for its
growing interests in the region.
Indian Interests in Afghanistan26 and Pakistan’s concern:
Exploit prevailing international anti-terroroism sentiments to her advantage, to further her
regional and global ambitions of playing a key role in world affairs.
Pose a two front security situation for Pakistan to put her on the horns of a dilemma in any future
Indo-Pak war.
Create law and order problems for Pakistan. Opening of consulates at Jalalabad, Kandahar,
Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat are steps towards the same direction.
Create friction between Pakistan and Afghanistan by giving boost to controversial issues.
Reduce the flow of Afghan trained and battle hardened Mujahideen to Indian held Kashmir.
Through India desires that Pakistan should not be a beneficiary of proposed oil-gas pipeline
project running through Afghanistan to Pakistan, but in order to get cheaper gas (comparing one
via Iran), she is likely to accept a gas line from Turkmenistan via Pakistan after getting sufficient
international guarantees.
Capture potential Afghan market for export of cheaper Indian goods.
Active participation in re-construction of Afghanistan.
India’s attempts to bolster the Afghan economy with a view to give rise to a perception that New
Delhi is firmly in the Soviet camp as far as Afghanistan was concerned. By forming a triple axis
with the Soviets and their puppet regime in Kabul, India wants to contain Pakistan in the west as
well as the east.
Musa Khan Jalalzai, The Foreign Policy of Afghanistan (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publication, 2003), p. 377.
Lieutenant Colonel Hamid Usman, “Afghanistan Solution – Options for Pakistan”, pp. 49-50.
Pakistan has raised the issues like Indian presence in Baluchistan in Sharmul Sheikh, increasing number
of consulates in Afghanistan, reviving the issue of Durand line that Durand Treaty’s duration has been
expired etc.
Pakistan is demanding to resolve the Durand line issue and saying to international community to accept
this de facto line as a permanent international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan because it
would reduce confrontation and help to coordinate easily for peace process.27
Pakistan’s concern regarding India has intensified after the recent visit of President Obama to India not
to Pakistan. His visit has been in limelight of Pakistani media’s debate while at the same time raising
both muted and vocal concerns in politico-strategic quarters. It has been a usual routine of the US
presidents to visit India and Pakistan in one leg but this time no such attempt was conceived.28 He has
lifted India vis-a-vis China and Pakistan on the very heights by saying this straight and sharp that “India
is not simply an emerging power, but now is a world power”.29 Pakistan’s concerns are quite genuine
because his recent immediate visit to India basically aims to ink secret agreements with New Delhi to
bring changes in the world order. India would collaborate with the US and other western partners to
confine five countries which include Pakistan, China, Iran, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.30
Strategies: It is stated by analysts that Indira Doctrine clearly shows Indian hegemonic designs. She
had adopted such kind of policies through which its hegemonic influence does expand in different areas
of Asian region. That is why she is actively investing its capital in rehabilitation, rebuilding and
reconstruction of Afghanistan. She is expanding the circle of fields for financing. She is also
strengthening its image there via its soft power. Moreover, she has initiated infiltrating in the Afghan
Nation Army through giving its military training to its officials either within India or Afghanistan.
Outcomes: Its Pakistan-centred policy in Afghanistan has benefited India a lot. It would be successful in
finding economic benefits by gaining access to the shortest and most viable routes for oil and gas export
from Central Asia are through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, more or less along the historic Silk
Mohammad Jamil, “Durand Line — De Facto Border”, Pakistan Observer (20 February, 2008).
Arshad M Abbassi, “Indo-US Relations: A Tale of Future”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV, No. 46 (November 12-18, 2010) p. 6.
Afshain Afzal, “Time for Pakistan: India to Talk Out Issues”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV, No. 46 (November 12-18, 2010)
p. 7.
Routes and their connections.31 India has maintained historically strong business and culture links to
Afghanistan by increasing a sizeable Indian resident community over there. She has been successful in
winning confidence of post-Taliban government in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Afghanistan’s
inclination has accelerated towards India more rather Pakistan. Indian element has deepened the
breaches between Pak-Afghan relations and concurrently widened the pre-existed trust deficit inbetween
Islamabad and Kabul.
Iran: It shares a 900 km long border with Afghanistan and despite many historical links between the
two ethno-sectarian differences have always existed between them.32 The role of Iran after Islamic
Revolution of 1979 and Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan became prominent and it shaped an ever new
foreign policy in accordance with a very famous slogan: ‘Neither East, nor West!’.33 This policy has
given a perception to the World that Iran is going to be under an Islamic radicalized system. The USA
called it one of ‘Axis of Evil’, reconfirmed that pre-existed notion about Iran.
Iranian Interests in Afghanistan: Its interests involve cultural, ethnic and religious ties that have kept
Iran historically inseparable from Afghanistan and CARs. Persian language in its variant dialects is
shared between these countries.34
 Try to prevent the re-emergence of a radical Sunni regime in Afghanistan (Taliban or any other).
 US/coalition forces leave as early as possible.
 Build-up her influence in Afghanistan by actively participating in re-construction of it.
 Strong congruence interests between India and Iran. It offers the best option for India to seek
access to Central Asia for its trade opportunities and is also an assured outlet for CARs oil and
natural gas. It is very much in India’s geo-strategic interests for alternative oil routing options to
emerge via Iran so that Pakistan cannot choke supplies to India in critical situation. The current
Asma Shahir, “Indo-Pak Competition in Central Asia”, Pakistan Observer (Islamabad), (29 August, 2002).
Musa Khan Jalalzai, Op.Cit., p. 348.
Tchangiz Pahlevan, “Iran and Central Asia”, in Touraj Atabaki and John O’Kane (ed.), Post-Soviet Central Asia (London:
Tauris Academic Studies, 1998), p. 73.
Marvin G. Weinbaum, “Afghanistan and its Neighbors: An Ever Dangerous Neighborhood”, Special Report of United
States of Institute of Peace (June 2006), Available Online (Retrieved at 11/29/2010).
disturbed conditions in Afghanistan, in fact, make Iran the currently most reliable route for trade
and outflows from the Central Asian region.35
 A predominantly non-Pushtun government to take care of Iran’s strategic interests.36
Strategies: Iran’s initiation of nuclear programme has given lots of benefits to it such as its regional
competitors in CARs like Turkey and trans-regional actors like Israel, the EU and the USA are
frightened of its Islamic radicalization and nuclear terrorism. Due to this, Iran would definitely try to
expand influence to Afghanistan as well as CARs in near future. Iran wants to adopt non-confrontation
policy with neighbouring states for regional stability. It longs to make an effective economic Islamic
block in the form of ECO so that Muslim states could participate in today’s economic race depending
own selves despite begging to others. On the other hand, Russo-Indo-Iran nexus has established which
can destabilize Afghanistan unintentionally. The relentless support to anti-Taliban alliance by Russia,
Iran and India is designed to achieve their objectives.
Impacts: Due to Islamic radicalization of Iran, the USA and its coalition has finally decided to
withdrawal from Afghanistan peacefully because they don’t want to fail in Afghanistan like Vietnam.
Iran’s leverage is going to be strong in CARs that will help to develop Great Game in this region to
some extent. It is concentrating the attention of Muslim world to make some strong functional and
operation institutions like the west. In the presence of the Western world, Iran do not want to be part of
Afghan’s future, the best example of it is the presence of Iran in London Conference of 28 Jan, 2010.
Central Asia States: CARs and Afghanistan are considered as the focal point of future politics in
New Great Game. Afghanistan’s geostrategic location is being seen as a ‘corridor and crossroad’ by the
regional and international players to fulfil energy demands and transit trade route. Afghanistan has
become important for the CARs after 9/11, because the USA invasion has a spill-over effect across the
Central Asia as whole.
Interests and objectives: CARs interests in Afghanistan are as here under:
Elimination of sources of religious extremism.
Brigadier GD Bakshi, “Agfhanistan: The First Faultline War”, Edition II (New Delhi: Lancer Publishers, 2002), p. 129.
“Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Closed Door Policy”, Human Rights Watch, Vol. 14, No. 2(G), (February 2002),
Available on (Retrieved at 11/30/2010).
Preservation of hydro-carbon reserves on the edges of border between Afghanistan and CARs.
Re-orientation of trade routes, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and particularly China has huge stakes
in the opening up of Afghanistan as a transit route to world markets37 through Indian Ocean,
Mediterranean and China itself by breaking away from the Russian strong hold
The CARs, especially Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan want to see a stable Afghanistan because
due to presence of the USA’s and its allies’ troops affected both the most.
A peaceful Afghanistan enable Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to pass oil and gas pipelines to the
ports of Arabian Sea.
Tajikistan wants to save itself from massive cross border movement and rapid spread of religious
fundamentalism by having stability and peace in Afghanistan.
Strategies: Some of Central Asian states are having border linkage with Afghanistan. The routes of
some of the sates will be used for provision of logistic support to the NATO. Numbers of individuals are
carrying out illegal border crossing and are involved in spreading terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
They are concurrently providing bases to the USA for fighting war on terror in Afghanistan, having
check on Iran’s nuclear program and on China’s economic emergence.
Global Powers
Figure No.2.2
M. K. Bhadrakumar, “US steps up its Central Asian tango”, Asian Times Online (25 August, 2009)
Available Online (Retrieved at 12/02/2010)
China: Afghanistan has minor adjacent border with China at the northern side via chicken neck Hindu
Kash. Both relations have strengthened by including Afghanistan in Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Interests and Objectives: Its basic objectives in Afghanistan can be divided into two categories:
(i) Legitimate
General Interests
The first ones are long-term interests and they are as under here:
 Meet future energy requirements.
 Economic Opportunities.
 Containment of religious extremism.
General Interests are as following:
Moderate government in Kabul so that turmoil would not affect the immediate neighbours.
Prevention of Central Asian interference in its internal affairs, especially in Xinjiang (Muslim)
and Tibet regions.
Promotion of internal stability in Afghanistan and limiting the role of ex-regional powers in the
The religious fundamentalism emanating from Afghanistan and its effects in the Muslim
dominated Xinjiang province is perceived as a threat to China’s integrity and stability.38
Withdrawal of the USA and coalition forces because they are a permanent threat to China’s
security as well as regional stability.
China’s Strategies: She has fully supported Afghanistan in its reconstruction process. They are
frequently discussed border issues, a prolonged US presence in the region and Afghanistan’s help to
China against the Uighur separatists. China has offered US $ 50 million aid in assistance to
Afghanistan39 and is consistently going on to increase. For taking into account main threats to region,
China formed SCO in 1996, but now its membership has extended to Afghanistan in 2004. This growing
Francesco Sisci, “Stability and Instability beyond Afghanistan”, Asia Times Online (15 December, 2001).
“China Assures Help to Karzai”, The News (24 January, 2002).
interest was particularly manifested with Beijing’s giant $3.5 billion investment in Afghanistan’s Aynak
copper field in year of 2007, the far largest foreign direct investment in Afghanistan’s history.40
Russia: After Russian invasion, Afghanistan and Russian relations are not so good. As Central Asian
states’ significance is enhancing, geostrategic location of Afghanistan and the USA presence on its soil
matters a lot for Russia.
Interests: Its legitimate interests are:
 Continue occupation over hydro-carbon flow.
 Prevention of Islamic extremism/terrorism.
 Friendly Afghan Government.
Its general interests in the region include:41
Protect the vulnerability of CARs against the threats of Islamic extremism emanating from
Stopping the arms and drugs flow coming to Russia from its south.
Preservation of its oil control over the external borders of the CIS in Central Asia and the
permeability of CARs border for imports from and exports to Russia.
To keep conditions unstable in Afghanistan to prevent CARs from developing transit facilities to
Arabian Sea and Black Sea.
Provoke the day-by-day growing CARs affinity with Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen populace of
Afghanistan that is why Russia wants a non-Pushtun dominated government in Kabul to have its
little bit influence till Afghanistan across to CARs.
To prevent emergence of an Islamic government and radicalization in Kabul, this can lead to
similar extremism and ethnic movements in CARs even.
Nicklas Norling, “The Emerging China-Afghanistan Relationship”, Central Asian-Caucasus Institute Analyst (14 May,
2008). Available Online (Retrieved at 12/03/2010).
Marvin G. Weinbaum, “Afghanistan and its Neighbors: An Ever Dangerous Neighborhood”.
To ensure a pro-Moscow regime in Kabul, this along with Iran will help to Russia in
checkmating US leverage extending to Central Asia.
Strategies: After Soviet Russia invasion and its defeat in Afghanistan, the today’s Russia is gradually on
the recovery to revert its authority in the regional global affairs. Though she was disintegrated as result
of US-Pakistan collation but was able to retain his nuclear assets intact. She is starting showing her
interest in resolving regional issues particularly Afghanistan’s turmoil and wants to repost its control
over CARs. Russia is interested to strengthen her ties with China and Pakistan too because it would help
Russia to weaken the USA in Afghanistan. India was a close ally of Russia prior to her disintegration
but later New Delhi extended her relations with Washington. Now Pakistan has opportunity to cash the
situation and make good relations with Russia. However, in spite of capitalizing this golden chance,
Pakistan is still cooperating with Washington and not taking into account its long term interests.
The EU and Japan: Either Japan is far away from Afghanistan but due to the second major
emerging economic state, it has some interests in Afghanistan like the EU which is geographically far
away from Afghanistan but Afghanistan geopolitical and geostrategic location attract these powers as
Interests and objectives:
Their interests are as here under:42
 See Afghanistan as a stable state to act as a conduit for continuous flow of energy resources from
 Having a long lasting influence of Afghanistan by taking part in re-construction of the country.
 Marginalize the leverage of Russia and Iran over Afghanistan.
 Ensure the elimination of a source of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.
The United States of America: For the USA, Afghanistan was not as important in past as today.
The Soviet Invasion of 1979 event diverted the USA attention toward Afghanistan and this region. She
made alliances with Pakistan and other neighboring states to contain Russia and stood Taliban up
against Soviet forces. After the extinction of the Soviet communist threat, the United States has come
Lieutenant Colonel Humid Usman, “Afghanistan Solution – Options for Pakistan”, pp. 48-49.
into the global forefront as the most powerful state in the world. The 9/11 incident pushed the USA to
invade Afghanistan to destroy Al-Qaeda and its supporters, Taliban within Afghanistan. Afghanistan has
become a challenging case to handle for Obama administration and easiness is clear by the US’s actions
and policies regarding Afghanistan. Joseph Nye Junior has aptly commented in the latest issue of
Foreign Affairs,43
“The problem of America in the twenty-first century, then is not one of
decline but what to do in light of the realization that even the largest
country cannot achieve the outcomes it wants without the help of others.
An increasing number of challenges will require the United States to exercise power with others as
much as power over others.”
The USA’s Interests: She has economic, strategic and political interests in Afghanistan in general.
However, there is her few legitimate interests. They are as here under:
 Energy Resources within Afghanistan and CARs.
 Encircle China.
 Check Russian and Iranian Influence.
 Halt Islamic Religious Extremism.
In general, her interests can be as following;
 The potential oil resources of the Caspian Basin region may be of strategic interests to America.
9/11 has provided as astute reason for US troops presence in CARs, Afghanistan and Pakistan.44
 Strive for the revival of secular forces, establishment of secular and anti-Taliban government in
 Ensure the sovereignty and independence of the countries of the region.45
Arshad M Abbassi, “Withdrawal from Afghanistan!: Mission Accomplished or Mission Abandoned?”, Op. Cit., p. 4.
Lieutenant Colonel Humid Usman, Op.Cit., p. 48.
Asma Sharkir Khawaja, “Pakistan and the ‘New Great Game’”.
Available Online (Retrieved at 12/04/2010).
 Promote Pakistan-Afghan relationship.
 Check the flow of narcotics emanating from the poppy fields of Afghanistan.
Strategies: President Obama put forward Af-Pak policy in December, 2009. His policy comprises these
points as: Increasing strength of troop up to 30,000, Joint military action with Pakistan within
Afghanistan, Political settlement with moderate Taliban, and Gradual withdrawal of troops.
After this policy, the International Community met at London January, 2010 and emphasized on
escalation of cooperation among six immediate neighbors to solve complex problem of Afghanistan and
rejected the idea of ‘greater Indian role’ in Afghanistan. The USA focused on equivalent role of all
regional and non-regional roles to settle Afghanistan prolonged conflict because Iran denied
participating in this conference. Afghanistan peace process would dismantle in the absence of one player
and it will take long time to normalize regional and Afghanistan politics. As Obama has mentioned “The
American people and the international community must understand that the situation of Afghanistan is
perilous. And progress will take time”.46 Despite this kind of goodwill gesture, America is helping the
NATO to expand its interests in Afghanistan and its neighbors. The policy of US and NATO to increase
troops are only widening their influence on ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force) of
Afghanistan. For this, the USA spends 4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on national defense
while the others 25 members of NATO collectively spend less than 2% on Defense.47 On the other hand,
the USA is spending less than 1% to reconstruction of Afghanistan. In the absence of troops, the USA
and NATO are relying air strikes which cause massive killing of innocents and yield hate with the US
and NATO. Karzai has clearly urged to the US “follow a new military strategy in Afghanistan that
would increase cooperation with Afghan forces and officials to prevent the killing and maiming of
civilians’…“We will not accept civilian casualties on our soil during the fight against terrorism and we
cannot tolerate it,”.48
America’s role in Afghanistan Peace Process
The USA Secretary of State, Henry Clinton has specified American objectives of War on Terror.
America will work with the Afghan and Pakistani governments to eliminate safe havens for those
plotting against us, our allies, and our interests. The US will work to find reliable partners in the region
“Afghan Situation Perilous: Obama”, The News (23 January, 2009).
Colonel Michael V. Schleicher, “NATO in Afghanistan: A Political Military Alliance at War”, p. 99.
“Karzai urges USA to Prevent Non-Combatants’ Death”, The Dawn, (21 January, 2009).
to help us stabilize it, which she thinks is fundamental to her own national security.49 She will develop a
long-term, sustainable relationship with Afghanistan and Pakistan so that the USA does not repeat the
mistakes of the past as primarily her abandonment of the Afghan region. The duration of American
military presence will be limited, but her civilian commitment must continue even its troop start coming
home back.
The new term, at least in connection with Afghanistan, in Washington and London is using “managing
expectations” after consideration of political option. For Obama and Cameron, it is now a question of
getting enough security, enough good governance and enough reconciliation with Taliban before British
and US forces can begin the slow trickle home from next summer.50
With respect to the current critical situation of Afghanistan compels Afghanis, regional and transregional players to play for viable and durable peace process game in Afghanistan over foot front so that
collective efforts could be fruitful. In this regard, David Miliband’s proposal put forward in the month of
April in this year got considerable attention of both western print and electronic media. First, why has
international community thought about a reliable peace process in Afghanistan will discuss. Second,
main points of Miliband’s proposal discuss and second, future policy options of different players along
with Afghanistan subsequently will be mentioned in a separate way.
Great Realization among World Community
Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Afghanistan: Assessing the Road Ahead”, U.S. Department of State (3 December, 2009).
Available Online: (Retrieved at 12/04/2010).
Robert Fox, “Is There an end in Sight in Afghanistan”, Op. Cit.
The Afghan crisis has affected the world too much in all walks of field. So, the question yield that what
were/are the reasons behind compelling the western community to solve the Afghan problem?
Public opinion within the US and world opinion are against physical presence of the superpower
in Afghanistan.
The Americans don’t want to lose war on terror in Afghanistan which has become a sign of
prestige and survival for the great power and its allies. This realization has severely developed in
American policymakers that Afghanistan might be the next Vietnam. Inspite of making many
arguments about achievements, indeed, they are losing war in Afghanistan and it is quite difficult
to keep it for long time. As King Amir Aman Allah said that ‘it is easy to conquer Afghanistan
but too difficult to keep it’.
They have realized that war is not the solution to any problem. Political settlement can only end
turmoil in Afghanistan.
Violence of the most murderous, indiscriminate and terrible kind started in Afghan war, politics
will bring it to end said by David Miliband.51
Some concerns have also shown by regional powers that world disputes are increasing as a result
of prolonged Afghan war while reducing; and
Due to the USA and the NATO, chances of future economic activity in the CARs will die out.
Barrack Obama had see through the alarm about the war in Afghanistan. In March 2009, President
Obama presented the draft of a new US policy on Pakistan and Afghanistan which aimed to address the
security slide with as spate of new strategies. The cornerstone of his Afghan policy was troop surge and
troop deployment patterns are likely to incorporate counterinsurgency and stabilization doctrines such as
the concept of ‘clear, hold and build’ – Afghan and coalition troops moves into the new regions only
when forces are available to hold to them thereafter.52 He emphasized on the use of power and repeated
the same mistake as Bush did but concurrently realized significance of peaceful settlement of
Afghanistan via negotiations with all militants and Taliban. The US has also for the first time officially
David Miliband, “How to End the War in Afghanistan”, New York Review of Books (1 April, 2010).
Available on
Simbal Khan, “Troop Surge in Afghanistan: Perils and Opportunities”, Reflections, No. 3 (Islamabad: Institute of Strategic
Studies, 2009), p. 34.
declared that the Afghan problem needs to be resolved politically, through reconciliation by endorsing
the Saudi-British initiative. On October 9, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, the US will be
prepared for pursuing reconciliation with the Taliban, if the Afghan government chose to support
David Miliband’s Proposal: How to End War in AFGHANISTAN
For maintaining peace, the USA, Britain and Afghan government are ready to formulate a ‘future road
map’ accepted to all the stakeholders within Afghanistan and out of it. In this regard, David Miliband’s
formula ‘How to end the war in Afghanistan’ can be seen as a complete package because it suggests
solution of prevalent problems and highlights dilemmas of Afghan crisis as well. It proposes twodimensional based political solution – internal political arrangement and external outreaches.54
Miliband’s Suggestion: The internal political arrangement includes:
 Transfer of political power to Afghan people.
 National reintegration of dissenting groups with Afghan government through reconciliation.
 Conditions on reluctant Taliban for negotiations.
 Build-up of Afghan National Army and police force; and
 Promoting a culture of a grand peace Jirga for consultation in emergency in country.
These things should be incorporated like consistent investment via friendly environment, detach
monopolization of warlords, eradicating of radicalisation culture from Afghan tribal society, promoting
the democratic institutionalization and parliamentary values.
By analysing Miliband’s proposal, it might be stated that he has concurrently accepted prevalent
problems such as corruption and malgovernance in Afghan society on the one side and he has proposed
solution of these on the other hand. Moreover, he had not specified about transfer of power to people but
who are they? Whether they would be the present government which belong to Populzi tribe (Tajik in
origin) or to the Pushtun as well which are almost half of the population inhabited in southern part of
Khalid Aziz, “America’s Exit Strategy in Afghanistan”, The News (14 October, 2008).
David Miliband, “How to End the War in Afghanistan”.
Afghanistan. Other thing is that policy regarding Taliban is based on the US’s policy ‘carrot and stick’ –
carrot for moderate Taliban and stick for reluctant militants or the members of Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
Without concerning these points, Afghan solution cannot be completed.
The external political settlement comprises as;
Convergence of neighbouring states with Afghanistan for common interests.
Promotion of cooperation and coordination among all stakeholders to eradicate crime, drugs
trafficking and terrorism, repatriation of Afghan refugees.
Establishment of close and deep cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan governments.
Making of independent Afghan policy by building confidence and reducing miscalculation.
Extension and Promotion of economic convergence via cross-roads; and
Conducive regional engagement through multitude of existing regional bodies.
All regional players are pursuing their own interests as well as the USA and NATO. In such situation,
solution of any problem is very difficult.
Future Policy Options of Afghanistan along with Regional
And Trans-regional Players
Regional Powers
Future Policy Options of PAKISTAN: Cordial relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan might be
established merely by compromising policy but on equivalent basis. The strategic calculus of
Afghanistan and Pakistan is closely intertwined but ironically it things are seen in their right perspective,
at present what is happening in Afghanistan is not because of Pakistan but it is the other way round.
Pakistan’s future role should be:
Disassociate itself from Taliban or any militant within Afghanistan.55
Avoid putting its influence on the Afghan government and tribal elites.
Lt. Col. Ateeq, “Resurgence of Talibans – Challenges for Afghanistan Government and Implications for Pakistan”, p. 35.
Enter in dialogue with local Taliban leaders on their own terms.
Try to satisfy the Pushtuns’ demands in FATA.
Complete the Afghan refugees’ repatriation with help of Afghan government and international
It should support Pushtun government in Afghanistan
It needs to change its Afghan’s foreign policy of “strategic depth” into ‘strategic silence’ which
has adopted for the time being after fighting a proxy war of terror and heavy losses in it.
The attacks by NATO in Pakistan borders are a wakeup call for us. Let’s not ignore the fact and
be united to form a new strategy by keeping in mind the storm which is in the making in the
skies over Pakistan. We must encourage and supply our security forces with resources to crush
militancy in Pakistan and not to provide the troubled waters for the outside forces to fish in.56
Today when the end game has begun in Afghanistan and America is contemplating different
options and strategies to withdraw from Afghanistan till 2014, a careful dissection of Pakistan’s
militant landscape is imperative to understand the regional security complex with a view
chalking out different roles of regional countries in post-American Afghanistan.57
Afghanistan’s future role should be:
Adopt self-reliance policy to solve their internal issue by themselves despite waiting for green
signal from the USA or somewhere else.
 Bringing Taliban and Pushtuns into Afghan political process by dialogue with open hearts and
 Request foreign forces to leave soil of Afghanistan.
 Avoid blame game on neighbouring states; and
Abdullah Nasar, “NATO Attack: A Wakeup Call for Pakistan”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV, No. 48 (26 November -2
December, 2010), p. 7.
Abdul Basit, “Afghanistan: A Case of Sink or Swim for West, Pakistan”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV. No. 46 (12-18
November, 2010), p. 13.
Enlarge scope of cooperation and stability in region.
Foreign Policy Options of INDIA: India’s role in Afghan’s Peace Process should be like;
India’s role as a coming regional power in near future should play a very constructive role rather
than adding fuel to fire.
Show flexibility in its relations with Pakistan despite blaming each other. Durable Afghan-Peace
Process will not effectively continue until and unless both nuclear powers tend to composite
India as an emerging regional economic power can also cooperate with Afghan government to
make locals’ lives healthy and prosperous through economic development and trade. As well,
Pakistan can provide India an ease transit trade route to India to Afghanistan and CARs markets
if India will be agreed on trading to these areas on equal bases but for mutual interests of all
rather preferring its own interests. It is a high time that both Pakistan and India must give up
their preconceived suspicions and mistrusts about each other and resolve their pending issues
instead of involving third countries or waiting for the time to decide.58 # (ibid., Time for
Pakistan: India to Talk out Issues).
Afghanistan’s future role regarding India should be like that;
It should not spoil its relations with most important neighbour - Pakistan on the will of others
either India or the Western powers.
Treat equally with all regional.
Not thanking just India for its role in rehabilitation in Afghanistan also give credit to Pakistan
because it has suffered a lot too as Afghanistan. Indeed, in Afghan Peace way forward Pakistan
and Afghanistan have equal and parallel stake.
Cash its price of geostrategic location because it would definitely be a ‘corridor’ to CARs.
Afshain Afzal, “Time for Pakistan: India to Talk out Issues”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV, No. 46 (12-18 November, 2010),
p. 7.
Take solid steps to redirect radicalized elements within Afghan society and emphasise on
including Iran in Peace Process. It cannot miss Iran just due to fear of increasing Iranian
radicalization in the region as the Western claims.
Future Policy Options of IRAN
Iran’s role should be like that to make Afghan way forward successful:
Iran should adopt non-confrontation and mutual understanding polices with neighbours.
As Iran is involved in various forms of conflicts with the Western powers, especially with the
USA, create an atmosphere of misunderstanding between Iran and its geographical neighbours.
Such a state of affairs could well have a harmful effect on the long-term interests of the region in
general and Iran in particular.59
Iran as a civilization has a greater chance of achieving expanded regional cooperation, than Iran
as a specific form of Islamic political entity.60
Iran should redefine its policy in the rapidly transforming regional scenario especially towards
Afghanistan because due to its arrogant and stubborn policy, it can be isolate in the world. It will
certainly look to find support and cooperation to cope with the challenges of isolation in the
region. It should normalize its relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan. As Ayatullah Khomeini
reflected this concern when he said on December 16, 2001, “Iran is concerned about the USA
involvement in Afghanistan. The Formation of the Afghan government should not be under the
influence of international powers. If they follow their own interests in Afghanistan, the existing
temporary peace could be shattered”61.
It should not support the rapid politicization and the emergence of militant Islamic
fundamentalist movements in CARs and Afghanistan just for its own interests.
Iran should make a joint mechanism with Afghanistan, Pakistan, the regional powers and the USA for
making Peace possible in Afghanistan forever.
Future Policy Options of CARs
Tchangiz Pahlevan, Op.Cit., p. 89.
“Iran says Foreign Role in Afghanistan Poses More Dangers”, The Reuters (16 December, 2001).
CARs can play very effective role in political settlement of Afghanistan:
As a whole Central Asian region have potential to compel regional and trans-regional powers’
involvement in political stability of Afghanistan because all have staked in oil and gas resources
of this region. This can be a great strength which must effectively use by the CARs in defining
the peaceful future of Afghanistan.
They should force the USA to review in policy regarding reconciliation with Taliban and AlQaeda because a threat to use force against reluctant militants would find shelter in CARs and
this thing would definitely cause instability, extremism and dismantling of democratic process in
their states.
Afghanistan should incorporate with CARs regional organizations focusing on regional
economic development, solving common problems by joint actions and promoting democratic
Afghanistan’s future role with CARs regarding peace and stability in the region should be:
 As they have the close cultural and religious ties, they must strengthen trade and commercial ties
with each other; so as to win a major stake in the regional markets.
 Afghanistan should demand a peaceful repatriation of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan
provided with the help of immediate states of Central Asia.
 Afghanistan have to give due share in political system to all ethnic groups within country so that
no one migrate in other states.
 CARs and Afghanistan should pressurize the USA to leave their land so that problems could
reduce instead of increasing.
Global Powers
Future Policy Options of CHINA
China has suggested Afghan’s peace roadmap and its future role can be as here under:
An article “Afghan peace needs a map” appeared in the English-language China Daily newspaper. In
this article few suggestion have been given as such;62
Afghan’s solution is that the US stops its military intervention in Afghanistan which would open
the way to a political settlement. An effective and a constructive settlement can be worked out
only by seeking a political settlement via national reconciliation. Any reconciliation process
must involve all the "key actors that can play an influential role in deciding the country's
prospect", especially the Afghan government, the Taliban and the forces that are commonly
called "warlords".
Karzai government should start ‘tripartite’ talks with the Taliban and major warlords, provided
that the US ends its military action.
The US withdraws its troops from Afghanistan; an international peacekeeping mission will be
needed to assist the Afghan government and its security forces to exercise effective control. It
doesn't spell out the nature of the international force, which can be presumably under the UN or
regional auspices.
The role of the international community: it calls for support from the international community
for an essentially intra-Afghan peace process. On the other hand, it suggests that the international
community should take advantage of the mounting anti-war sentiments in the US and "prompt"
Obama to end the war and withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
China should no longer remain itself disengaged in Afghanistan as Karzai’s government has
recently opened up its energy, mineral, and raw materials to foreign investors in 2008.63
China should include Afghanistan in Shanghai Cooperation Organization to develop region.
Afghanistan’s Future role must be:
Afghanistan should incorporate China in political settlement.
M. K. Bhadrakumar, “China Maps an End to the Afghan War”, Asia Times Online (2 October, 2009).
Available Online (Retrieved at 12/13/2010).
Nicklas Norling, Op.Cit.
She should realize that Afghanistan has large energy and mineral resources, particularly in
copper, but they should cooperate with each other which would be helpful for both. China is
likely to emerge as a large investor in the country, for better or worse, and Beijing’s interest in
Afghanistan is likely to increase. It will nonetheless continue to be overall peripheral to China’s
strategic concerns compared to Pakistan and the Central Asian countries.64
Both can efficiently solve the ethnicity, fundamentalism and radicalization problems in Xinjiang
and Afghanistan by joint cooperation in economic development.
Future Policy Options of RUSSIA
Russia’s and Afghanistan’s roles would definitely solve Afghan problem:
Russia considers Afghanistan as a gateway to having access to Pakistan and to Arabian Sea than
India due to remote of the latter through India. That is why, she is in favor of peaceful
Afghanistan which will benefit to all internal and external powers.
Due to historical legacy and control over CARs, Russia can solve Afghan crisis. For instance,
Russia and Uzbekistan has realized that there could be no "unilateral solution" to the Afghan
problem and "nothing can be resolved without taking into account the collective opinion of states
which have an interest in the resolution of the situation".65
It has also emphasized to reduce tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is not possible to
examine the establishment and development of a modern political system in Afghanistan in
isolation from the context of normalizing relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan in their
border regions, setting up the appropriate international mechanisms and so on".66
Russia has offered "to provide broad assistance for an independent and democratic country
(Afghanistan) that lives in a peaceful atmosphere with its neighbors. Cooperation in the defense
M. K. Bhadrakumar, “Russia stops US on Road to Afghanistan”, Asian Times Online (27 January, 2009)
Available Online: (Retrieved at 12/13/2010).
sector ... will be effective for establishing peace in the region". Karzai has shown agreement to
take Russian weaponry that is perceived a threat by Washington.67
Afghan-Russia cooperation should be in economic, trade, politics, and humanitarian sphere.
EU’s and JAPAN’s role in Afghanistan Peace Settlement
In the 19th Summit at Tokyo, the European Union and Japan put forward ‘EU-Japan cooperation in
Afghanistan’ on 28 April 2010:68
Japan and the EU reconfirmed their intention to work together – and in active partnership with the
Afghan government, the United Nations (UN) and other international partners – to promote a secure,
stable and prosperous future for the people of Afghanistan. They welcomed their successful cooperation
on the ground with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams. They confirmed their readiness to seek
possible cooperation on security, reintegration and development assistance, in the context of the EU’s
Action Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan adopted in October 2009 and Japan’s assistance package to
Afghanistan and Pakistan announced in November 2009. In this regard, they decided;
To continue to explore cooperation between Japan and the EU in the field of assistance for the
capacity building of the Afghan police including improvement of facilities in Ghor Province.
To hold a capacity building seminar in Tajikistan that aims to enhance border management
capacity of the countries neighboring Afghanistan.
Future Policy Options of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The following steps should be taken by both sides – the USA and Afghanistan itself.
The USA should adopt hands-off-policy69 like leaving Afghanistan to be governed by its own
tribal mixed democratic culture and semi-interference policy while having check and balance on
Afghan’s economic and political development. On the other side, Afghanistan has to ask help for
regional powers and should rely on their arms’ strength at least to solving internal problems.
“The Council of European Union and 19th EU-Japan Summit”.
Available on (Retrieved at
“Afghanistan”, Available Online: (Retrieved at 12/15/2010).
Both should discourage to maintain status quo because it would harm the slow on-going
democratic process and can cause balkanization of Afghanistan that would not be in favour of
any political players of the world.
Both must play a proactive role in their present policies regarding political settlement in
Afghanistan. They should finish their differences and adopt proactive peace policy at all levels
based on non-interference, sovereign equality, escalation of trade and economic cooperation and
finally normalization/improvement in relations with all.70
The USA and international community should collectively focus on some points to make political
settlement process easy like:
Establishing greater understanding amongst various ethnic groups of Afghanistan.
Repatriation of Afghan refugees from all neighbouring states back to Afghanistan.
Strengthening strong trade and commercial relation.
Rapprochement approach to solve the contentious issues with each other.
Increasing Pak-Afghanistan aid.
Taking concrete steps through joint-collective effort against terrorism, and
Facilitating Afghanistan entry in regional organisation like SAARC etc so that regional
cooperation could play its pivotal role in permanent Peaceful solution of Afghanistan and its
adjacent areas.
As no solution can be incomplete without Pakistan, its national security agenda has been fluctuating
with any major or minor event in Afghanistan. One of the major threats to Pakistan’s security is rapidly
growing close relationship among India, Israel and the USA. Therefore, Afghan situation is a right to reframe Pakistan’s strategic interests in new security agenda on its own terms and select the right partners
in East instead of West. Realistically, China is in quest for its security and she would offer full
membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Pakistan should not forget that her experience with
the West has been total let-down; whilst China has always been a friend in need thereby proving itself as
a friend.71
Any proposal can be successful if Afghanistan as an independent state plays it active role for
establishing durable peace and should take concrete measures by themselves. The regional players’ role
and sole superpower’s role can help the Afghans to make peace process consistent. They have to be
sincere to make Afghan land free from confrontation and battle. Yet, there are many questions to answer
about the ‘land of conflicts or deterioration’ for instances what does “success” in Afghanistan really mean? Who
will decide the future of Afghan conundrum and when? Would always Afghanistan be a headache and cancer for
Pakistan’s and regional security? What will be the role of Pushtuns in Afghan government? Would
international community collectively use its all ‘true’ energies to put different broken pieces of Afghanistan in
place without their vested interests in region and make Asia an area of peace and development which is the “next
potential centre of global politics” in upcoming future? It is hard to say in realistic terms whether
Afghanistan’s mystery would be solved or not. But one thing can be stated certainly is that no one either
within Afghan government and society or regional and trans-regional players have holistically thought a
viable, reliable and durable solution of this land. The orbit of future global politics is in Asia and
Afghanistan situation will determine whether range of ongoing economic development in the region
would have continuing or would be speeded up with its full velocity. Let this issue leave over time
because world politics and Afghanistan itself are awaiting appropriate time.
Muhammad Zulfiqar Khan Niazi, “Indo-Israel-US nexus: Security Implications for Pakistan”, Op. Cit.
Bakshi, Brigadier GD, Agfhanistan: The First Faultline War, Edition II (New Delhi: Lancer Publishers,
2002), p. 129.
Jalalzai, Musa Khan, The Foreign Policy of Afghanistan (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publication, 2003)
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Shah, Babur, “Geo-Strategic Patterns of a Post-Taliban Afghanistan”, in Musa Khan Jalalzi (ed.), The
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Vogelsang, Willem, The Afghans (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Publication, 2008)
Abrashi, Fisnik, “Karzai: Afgans, US in ‘Gentle Wrestling’ Match”, Afghanistan Monitor (10
February, 2009).
Coghlan, Tom, “Afghanistan’s Uncertain Future”, Far Eastern Economic Review, Vol. 168, No.
8 (September 2005), p. 28.
Khan, Amina, “Afghan Presidential Election August 2009”, Reflections, No. 3 (Islamabad:
Institute of Strategic Studies, 2009), p. 38.
Khan, Simbal, “Troop Surge in Afghanistan: Perils and Opportunities”, Reflections, No. 3
(Islamabad: Institute of Strategic Studies, 2009), p. 34.
Nuri, Maqsudul Hasan,, “The ‘Afghan Corridor’: Prospects for Pakistan-CAR Relations, PostTaliban?”, Current Affairs Digest (March 2003), p. 94.
Robichaud, Carl, “Remember Afghanistan? A Glass Half Full, On The Titanic”, Current Affairs
Digest (February 2008), p. 91.
Schleicher, Colonel Michael V., “NATO in Afghanistan: A Political Military Alliance at War”,
National Defense University Journal, Vol. II (2008), p. 96.
Townsend, Sir Cyril, “Struggle for Future of Afghanistan Stretches out” on Arab News,
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Abbassi, Arshad M., “Indo-US Relations: A Tale of Future”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV, No. 46
(12-18 November, 2010) p. 6.
Afzal, Afshain, “Time for Pakistan: India to Talk Out Issues”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV, No. 46,
(12-18 November, 2010), p. 7.
Basit, Abdul, “Afghanistan: A Case of Sink or Swim for West, Pakistan”, Weekly Pulse, Vol.
XV. No. 46 (12-18 November, 2010), p. 13.
Nasar, Abdullah, “NATO Attack: A Wakeup Call for Pakistan”, Weekly Pulse, Vol. XV, No. 48
(26 November-2 December, 2010), p. 7.
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Aziz, Khalid, “America’s Exit Strategy in Afghanistan”, The News (14 October, 2008).
Cheema, Pervaiz Iqbal, “Unwinnable Afghan war”, The Post (12 October, 2008).
Jamil, Mohammad, “Durand Line — De Facto Border”, Pakistan Observer (20 February, 2008).
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Web Sources:
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(February 2002), Available on (Retrieved at 11/30/2010).
“Humid Karzai”, Available on (Retrieved at 11/18/2010).
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(Retrieved at 11/28/2010 on 2:31 pm)
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Available on
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(Retrieved at 12/02/2010)
Bhadrakumar, M. K., “China Maps an End to the Afghan War”, Asia Times Online (2 October,
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