The instability in Afghanistan continues

Transnational Politics and Global Interventions hinder much-awaited peace in Afghanistan
"The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, two decades after US-led forces toppled their regime in what led to the United States’ longest war." [Representational Image]
"The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, two decades after US-led forces toppled their regime in what led to the United States’ longest war." [Representational Image] Pixabay [Creative Commons]

Beijing issues a policy paper on Afghanistan—accuses the U.S. of hindering humanitarian progress by seizing Afghanistan assets and imposing sanctions.

U.N. said the ban on female Afghan staff working is “unlawful under international law, including the UN Charter, and the United Nations cannot comply.

No country has recognized the ruling Taliban government, and they hardly find their presence in any multilateral forum or United Nations. 

Russia’s Samarkand meeting on Afghanistan on April 13 and 14 will see an interesting geopolitical agenda the neighbouring countries will attend. 

U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, is travelling to the U.A.E., Qatar, and Turkey to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

With so much attention on Afghanistan, the instability in Afghanistan continues. It is essential to recognize that multiple complex factors are at play, including decades of conflict and violence, weak and corrupt governance, ethnic and tribal divisions, socioeconomic inequality, and regional power struggles.

However, transnational politics, global intervention, and external influences, including foreign aid and military support, play a vital role in the country’s uncertainty.

Simply blaming instability as one root cause oversimplifies the issue and may hinder efforts to find lasting solutions. However, with massive pressure from external actors having their vestigial interests and emerging internal terrorist threats from ISIS-K, the egoist interim ruling Taliban government continues to falter in decision-making and hence no relief to the population who continue to suffer.

The different schools of thought (extreme radical vs radical vs moderate) and the internal bickering within the ruling government further deteriorated development. Today’s Afghanistan is witnessing confusion, fear, and insecurity amongst the residents who, if given a choice, want to leave their country.

The ruling Afghanistan government, under their egoist male chauvinist attitude and divided opinion, are taking shelter of religion, issuing edicts asking women to be away from public life, girl students away from the senior schools or colleges, and arresting all those who oppose their decisions in the country.

Hundreds of opposition leaders and activists are either in jail or missing, and thousands are lying low, planning to leave the country for the progress of their loved ones.

The squabbling and lack of decisions by the ruling administration allow the outside players to intervene and take advantage of the rich resources in Afghanistan.

China issued an exciting position paper on April 12 and accused its rival (United States) of hindering humanitarian progress by seizing Afghanistan’s overseas assets and imposing unilateral sanctions.

Without naming the U.S. and its Western allies, the paper said it was a shared view in the region that Afghanistan had suffered because of “military interference and democratic transformation by external forces” in the country over the past 20 years.

Giving an indirect warning, the position paper says, “Relevant countries should not attempt again to deploy military facilities to Afghanistan and its surrounding areas ... and should not realize their geopolitical designs by supporting and conspiring against terrorism.” 

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang issued the position paper before starting his journey to Uzbekistan, that will be followed by a meeting with his counterparts from six countries in the region to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

The statement says, “China never interferes in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, never seeks selfish interests in Afghanistan, and never pursues so-called sphere of influence.”

If one observes the Chinese action and presence in Afghanistan, they are trying to position its strength in Afghanistan in the name of “reconstruction and revitalisation of Afghanistan.”

The Islamic State or ISIS- K in Afghanistan targets Chinese nationals to “avenge” Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. ISIS-K has adopted an aggressive position toward China and targeted the Chinese in Afghanistan. The ISIS-K had also released a document and a video that declared the liberation of Uyghurs as “one of their objectives.”

The ISIS-K, in addition, continues to target the influential people of the Taliban who matter in Afghanistan, blaming them for diverting from Islamic principles. Meanwhile, the Taliban, with the support of Pakistan, continuously targeted the sympathisers and suspected hideouts of ISIS-K.

Russia’s Interest in Afghanistan

Russia is no longer a direct neighbour but shares a close history with Afghanistan. Many political observers see the Soviet Union’s decision to invade Afghanistan in 1979 contributed to the collapse of communism and disintegration of the U.S.S.R. Russia is equally interested in the country for security reasons and organises regional countries’ meetings on Afghanistan development.

The fourth Foreign Ministers’ meeting among the neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan will be held in Samarkand on 13/14 April. China is willing to work with neighbouring countries to help Afghans walk on the path to stable development and to realise regional peace and prosperity. Geopolitically, they want to keep the U.S. and West out of Afghanistan.

U.S. Interest in Afghanistan

The US troops may not be directly present in Afghanistan but continue their aerial intervention as and when required. The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, is travelling to the U.A.E., Qatar, and Turkey to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. In Doha, West will meet with Qatari colleagues, Afghan civil society leaders, and partner missions, according to the U.S. Department of State statement. The statement said West will also meet with his U.A.E. counterpart and Afghan business and thought leaders in the U.A.E.

The U.S. State Department said West will consult with Afghan political leaders, journalists, humanitarian professionals, and human rights activists in Istanbul. “West is conducting outreach in the region to secure input as the international community seeks solutions to Afghanistan’s compounding challenges, made worse by the Taliban’s recent decisions to limit women’s participation in humanitarian operations and ban them from their work for the U.N.,” the statement said.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, two decades after US-led forces toppled their regime in what led to the United States’ longest war. China now wants to be at the centre of a new world order, overthrowing the U.S. The friction between the two nations has only increased since with disputes over trade, technology, security, and ideology.

On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a deal in Doha under which all foreign forces were to leave Afghanistan by May 2021. The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31, 2021.

Once the U.S. left, China entered Afghanistan to set up money-spinning business deals with the new regime, mainly in the infrastructure sector. Experts said China first made infrastructure deals to make inroads into any territory. The Afghan economy has continued to go on a downward spiral since the Taliban took over.  Afghanistan also has one of the largest copper deposits in the world, along with deposits of lithium, iron ore, and other rare earth elements. China has mining interests in the country, and the Chinese are already exploring the opportunities in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s situation remains fragile and can be reversed at any time. The sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the Western countries and the ever-increasing presence of China and Russia in Afghanistan will keep hindering Afghanistan’s much-awaited peace and development.

Author is a regular contributor to Greater Kashmir

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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