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Afghanistan and

Regional Actors

Afghanistan: School of militancy/Jihad

Brief Introduction:
Afghanistan, one of the most isolated barren landscape on
earth.
It is difficult to believe that any empire would want to
invade it, and yet it has become unlikely target and
obsession of some of the worlds greatest empires and
superpowers.
Afghanistan has a history of resistance to foreign invaders
and occupation and rightfully continues to enjoy the status
of Graveyard of Empires.
But it has always been the part of all great power rivalries
called great game.

Afghanistan: School of militancy


Afghanistan has been a victim of imperial
intentions and contestation in recent history.
Domestically, it has passed through
wrangles between the forces of modernity
and orthodoxy, from King Amanullah Khans
attempts to modernize Afghan society in
1920s
To republicanism of President Daoud in 1973

in 1990s theocracy under Taliban reign.

Regional Dimension from Competition to


Cooperation
Afghanistans neighbours have traditionally

competed and intervened into Afghanistan to


promote their national interests.
No regional country has the preponderance to
impose its will in Afghanistan.
But, they surely have capacity to spoil anything
they perceive divergent to their interests.
Now, after exhausting all military options and
security competition, they now are ready to
cooperate for security and stability of the region.

Historical Background
History of Afghanistan is full of up-heavals; no other
country in a modern international political system
has faced more blows than that of Afghanistan.
It has experienced the ire of Alexander the Great,
Babur in 1504 took the control of Kabul, entered
into Subcontinent and established
Mughal
Dynasty.
In 19th Century - Great Game - Afghanistan became
the battle ground between Tsarist Russia and British
Empire, the first Anglo-Afghan war took place in
(1838-1842) and second in (1878-1880).

Historical Background
The modern Afghanistan won its independence on
August 8, 1919 after attacks on British Forces by
King Amanullah Khan who ruled from 1919 to 1929.
During Zahir Shahs rule - enjoyed a period of
comparative political stability and economic
prosperity that lasted till 1973 when Daoud
deposed him.
1973 coup of Daoud
Communist coup April 27, 1978 Saur Revolution
Tarakai ousted by Hafiz ul Amin in Sep 1979, illconceived reforms.

Historical Background
Soviet invasion December, 1979 Brzezinski
stinger.
UN brokered Geneva accords April 1988
USSR troops withdrawal Najeeb govt.
Step down March 17, 1992 Kabul was taken
over by Mujahedeen under Ahmed Shah
Masood.
Infighting among Mujahedeen gave way to
the emergence of Taliban 1994 regarded
Rabbani govt. as anti Pashtoon and corrupt.

Historical Background
Therefore, during the four years of Civil War
(1992-1996) they earned popular support
from the southern and eastern Afghanistan.
In November 1994 Taliban took over Qandahar
city, in September 1995, Taliban captured Herat
and imprisoned its Governor Ismail Khan.
After a series of territorial victories Taliban
eventually seized the control of Kabul in
September 1996 and ousted the Rabbani
Government.

Pakistan and Afghanistan


In contemporary world, there are no two states shares
as much common fate, culture, history and geopolitical dilemmas as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Historically, relations between two sides have been
combination of optimism and gloom, collaboration
to antagonism since the origin of Pakistan in 1947.
irredentist claims Pashtoonistan stunt.
In 1950s Pakistani flags were burnt Pakistani
embassy was attacked diplomatic relations were
severed.

Pakistan and Afghanistan


In 1960s relations were at ease
relatively.
1970s premier ZA Bhutto visited
Afghanistan that was reciprocated by
Sardar Daud.
Afghanistan in late 1978 descended
into chaos USSR invasion of
Afghanistan in 1979.
Mujahedeen resistance supported by

After 9/11 Pakistan and


Afghanistan

After 9/11, Toppling Taliban regime was a universal mandate for Int.
coalition.
Stable Afghanistan has always been vital to Pakistan, but after a
decade long chaos and construction, stability in Afghanistan has
become more crucial for Pakistan; because without it, Pakistan
cannot have peace in bordering areas.
Pakistan Supports Afghan-led Afghan-owned solution of the
Afghanistan issue.
Sartaj Aziz when discussed this with Daud Ahmedzai Karzai accused
Pakistan for playing Taliban card to have a sway in Afghanistan.
Karzai has had the history of accusing Pakistan for interference, but
in reality corrupt and incompetent Karzai with his cronies took
the escape route by charging Pakistan.

After 9/11 Pakistan and Afghanistan


Sympathetic policy of Pakistan has been very
antagonistically responded by Afghanistan, it has done
nothing to address Pakistani grievances TTP leadership
in Kunar and Nuristan as fugitives.
Pakistan gave 500 US$ in aid to Afghanistan.
Pakistan fears that Talibans rise to full power, they will
support the TTP and strive for the Pashtoonistan stunt now
under the banner of jihad.
Pakistan has never claimed to have strategic depth in
Afghanistan nor does it intend to.
Many believe Pakistan had Strategic Depth Policy that
has now been replaced with strategic shift.

After 9/11 Pakistan and Afghanistan


Pakistan was compelled to opt for SD India,
Iran, Russia supported Northern Alliance.

We want to have strategic depth in


Afghanistan, but that does not imply controlling
it. If we have a peaceful, stable and friendly
Afghanistan, automatically we will have our
strategic depth because our western border will
be secure, and we will not be looking at two
fronts.
Gen. Kayani,
2010

After 9/11 Pakistan and Afghanistan


Pakistan support the reconciliation process as a
mediator and facilitator not as guarantor, as
eventually it would be the Afghan responsibility.
The strategic pivot-cum-shift of Pakistan has four
main goals;
first, good neighbourly relations with India and
Afghanistan;
second, bilateral trade with India;
Third, reaching out energy rich Central Asian
and finally, bridging Central Asia to South Asia for
energy transportation

After 9/11 Pakistan and Afghanistan


Today, Pakistan is concerned about the two of
developments that might emerge in Afghanistan;
first, manoeuvring of the TTP by Afghan
intelligentsia;
Second, Pakistan does not want collaboration
between TTP and Afghan Taliban.
Both outcomes will be devastative for internal
security of Pakistan;
therefore, Pakistan is in favour of peaceful neighbour
with Taliban mainstreamed as political force.
This is how TTP can be deprived from being energized
by the support of Afghan Taliban.

After 9/11 Pakistan and Afghanistan


After Karzai
Ashraf Ghani defying all diplomatic norms went
straight to GHQ.
Relations became cordial till August, 2015, when the
news about the death of Mullah Omer Sabotaged
the Murree process of Dialogue started in July of this
year.
In fact, Karzai and his aides sitting in NDS were not
happy with growing relations and Pakistani leverage.
Ghani, at home, was accused for having an
appeasement policy towards Afghanistan.

After 9/11 Pakistan and Afghanistan


After Gen Raheel Sharifs visit, it has been agreed to help
revive Afghan reconciliation process.
Pakistan lost Ghani?
No, because Ghani knows to what extent Pakistan went in
bringing to a table.
Including - be kicked out of Pakistan unless they obliged.
Pakistan now feels Ghani was a weak and unreliable
partner.
He would need to guarantee, and prove, greater control
over the process on his side for Pakistani trust.
Then Pakistan-backed reconciliation process then is
wishful.

India and Afghanistan


Indias sensitivities and its engagements with Afghanistan
have historical roots, its relations with Pakistan and Indias
access to central Asia with Afghanistan and Iran as transit
route.
India's immediate interest in post-Taliban 2001
Afghanistan is to prevent the conservative takeover to
avoid violence spill over into India.
Politically stable, secure, sovereign, and democratic
Afghanistan will significantly lesson the likelihood of such
threats.
Indias long term goal in relation to Afghanistan is to use
Afghanistan as land bridge, for access to energy rich
Central Asia.

India and Afghanistan


Around US$2 billion of development aid to Afghanistan has
been committed by India till date.
India has been projecting its soft power to the detriment
of Pakistan by building, universities, hospitals and building
of the parliament, that has earned a very high status for
India among Afghans.
An Indian steel consortium has won the iron ore mining
rights of Hajigak in Bamyan, a project of worth US$11
billion.
India has enduring strategic and economic interests in
Afghanistan; with the NATOs security cover India has
pursued its security and economic objectives in
Afghanistan.

India and Afghanistan


Strategic agreement with Afghanistan in 2011 for
capacity building of ANSF by giving training to
ANA officers.
India is empowering ANA, arming it, so after
withdrawal of US/NATO troops it does not descend
into chaos again.
India has been using Afghan soil as staging ground
for her clandestine operations inside Pakistan.
Economic growth has enabled India to play a
decisive role in regional security contours.
Indias Afghan policy is Pakistan centric

Iran and Afghanistan

In 1990s, Iran backed the anti-Taliban Persian


speaking NA.
Therefore, was a staunch supporter of US-led
invasion of Afghanistan to over throw the Taliban
regime.
Iran wants to maintain status quo in Afghanistan so
no other power can threaten Iran from Afghanistan.
Although U.S. presence in Afghanistan is ominous to
Iran, but on the question of Taliban and stability in
Afghanistan both U.S. and Iran seem to be on the
same page.

Iran and Afghanistan


Immediate goal of Iran is to prevent its people from any attack
by U.S. from its bases in Afghanistan was against SPA and
wanted to sabotage BSA.
On strategic fronts, Iran has three strategic objectives;
First, Tehran neither want a regime closer to U.S. nor Saudi
backed conservative like Taliban.
Second; Iran will support Afghan Presidency with appropriate
representation of Persian speaking Shiite Hazara and Tajik in
the political system.
Third; primacy is protection of investments and personnel in
Western Afghanistan.

China and Afghanistan


Chinas policies have been very careful and restrained
and Xinjiang province centric.
China is committed to
International Community.

stabilize

Afghanistan

with

After US withdrawal instable Afghanistan will be at


threat to China, Russia, Iran and the region.
It support Afghan-led-Afghan-owned peace process.
There is also a trilateral mechanism china Pakistan
Afghanistan, Keeping India away given the sensitivities
of Pakistan, because china view Pakistan as balancer
against India.

China and Afghanistan

China wants stabilized Afghanistan because of possible


radicalism to Xing Xian and it investments in
Afghanistan.
In
2008,
a
Chinese
conglomerate,
Chinese
Metallurgical Group (CMG) and Jiangxi Copper Co.
acquired Aynak copper deposit worth of US$ 3.5
billion for 30 years.
Estimated deposits of copper is potentially US$ 100
billion worth and five times more of Afghan GDP.
Conclusively, Afghanistan has very high place in
develop the West and One Belt One Road
projects.

Russia and Afghanistan

Afghanistan is observed by Russia through the


lenses of security threats to Russia and its
backyard CARs.
First, Russia worries that intensification of
Islamist extremism will energize militant
movements in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Secondly, drug trafficking from Afghanistan to
CA and Russia.

Russia and Afghanistan

Therefore, Russia offered Northern supply route to


Afghanistan when Pakistan blocked NATO
supplies.
Threat of Islamization is a myth says many
security analysts justification of ruthless
policing.
Recent Qunduz fall Russians viewed it as a
warning to CA/Russia, even ISIS is also seen by
China and Russia as a threat more to them than
Afghanistan.

USA and NATO Allies


USA invaded Afghanistan in the after math of 9/11 in
pursuit of Al-Qaeda and their Taliban affiliates.
USA toppled Taliban established Bone Process and resultant
Karzai government.
They failed in democratization, state building, and nation
building of Afghanistan they now have assumed the role
train, advice, and assist.
US/NATO now insist to stay in Afghanistan by keeping 9,800,
later on 12,000 troops for coming years.
USA by living in Afghanistan intends to keep an eye on
nuclear ambitious Iran, put pressure on China and
resurgent Russia, Nuclear Pakistan, and ensure smooth
energy flow through Persian Gulf.

Conclusion
Afghanistan is still far from a functioning state despite 14
years long expensive campaign by international coalition.
Bone process was seen as state itself what about the
legitimacy of the state??
Afghanistan has regional solution from within with a
power sharing mechanism.
Any solution imposed by others will be short-lived.
Taliban must be mainstreamed as political entity.
Pakistan sensitivities must be dealt in relation to
Indian footprints on Afghan soil.
China should play a larger role for cherished peace and
security.