All havocs grounded on the land renowned as the quagmire for the great empires. Kabul was surrounded by the warriors, insurgents, fighters, Taliban, Madrassah-Chap, terrorists-multiple identities with dynamic patterns of world politics. Kabul was almost under the siege for almost 48 hours by insurgents when they captured 29 of 35 Afghan provinces including the key strategic provincial capitals including Kandahar, Ghazni and Jalalabad. The day they captured Ghazni 130 km from Afghan capital, I reportedly negated US prediction to capture Kabul with in 30 days as the matter was seems to be closed in days than weeks and the prediction proved right. The day when Kabul has been fallen to the Afghan Taliban, we woke up with the story of Jalalabad-the eastern city-with the major highway linking to capital of Pakistan’s Pashtun province, Peshawar has fallen to the insurgents, without any resistance and the government officials fled seeking safe passage. Latter that day, they entered to Kabul and the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani reportedly, fled with 4 cars and a helicopter filled with money, as confirmed by the spokesperson of Russian embassy in Afghanistan. Probably, those were the Dollars meant to build the national defence against the pressure groups from inside and invasion from outside. The Kabul regime has been changed with ousted and installation of two Ghanis, one from Afghan people and the other from left-over weapon by the invanders. Taliban gains, stunned the international leadership including the key invader in 2001, the United States and its strategic ally in Afghan situation Pakistan. They acknowledged the role of Pakistan in war-torn country and it’s an assumption that no other state could have the depth of ties as the Islamic Republic. Obviously, Pakistan shares 2,525 km of its western frontier and almost a province of Pashtun community which share culture, language, and history with Afghanistan.
The world has witnessed the fall of Kabul to the Islamists and it’s the crucial time to distribute the responsibilities of the catastrophe to all stakeholders of peace. US stayed in Afghanistan for almost 20 years, which to their approach they have achieved goals on war on terror that is killing of Bill-Laden ten years ago. But they remained poor in managing evacuation, resembled ‘Saigon’ in Vietnam burning everything not on the day Kabul Falls, but without reproducing any political settlement to the nation. That was quite an apparent from President Biden’s latest address to the Americans that “America’s mission is to counter terrorism, not counter insurgency or nation building”. Then comes the Afghan ousted Ghani’s government, the lust of power and money devastated and risked the future of children and women of Afghanistan. Taliban are the stubborn, ideologists, negated every formula to settle political future in the land locked state. Pakistan comes last, though having an extreme share in frontier and culture with the Afghans, they have left their political leverage over the Taliban, even initially motivated and trained by their agencies in 1980s. Even some news confirmed the frustrated departure of Pakistan’s army Chief General Bajwa from the meeting hall during the talks held between them and the Taliban.
By now, the Subsequent Prospects of Afghan Politics has been changed after many embassies evacuated their staff out, shutting the doors from Kabul, some didn’t seek to flee instead, will mobilize the diplomatic opportunities arising to work with the new government in Afghanistan. Pakistan, Russia and China are three regional stakeholders which can shortly uphold the opportunities leading to the peaceful region and evict their Quad rivals, India and United States from the region. Other than Pakistan, China has been sharing a small but important border with Afghanistan. They don’t relish the East Turkistan Islamic movement and a threat of destabilization to its strategic western Xinjiang Province. These lands are highly important for China as are the site for military exercises and nuclear tests sites also lies there. Secondly, it is also politically unstable as Uyghur minorities reside there which is highly vulnerable to foreign exploitation and rebellious movements.
China through its ‘economic diplomacy’ may well link with Afghanistan through sparsely populated Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAR). A quick glance over the map gives this route running through China, Tajikistan and finally to Afghanistan. Afghanistan also shares the boundary with Central Asian Republics (CARs), which are altogether lies in Russian influence right after their independence. Russia shares interests in Afghanistan through these lands as any kind of instability can harm the Moscow directly from these routes. These lands are also vital for ancient silk route which is revitalized under the Belt and Road initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Pakistan also holds major stakes in Afghanistan and thanks to its demography and conflictual Durand line. As Earlier from the independence, Pakistan sought relations based on a responsive than a repulsive government in Afghanistan. Pakistan objectively, tried to diminish the looming threat of Greater Pushtunistan-an ideology that doesn’t accept the Durand line as an international border. Some say the installation of Taliban earlier in 1990s, has objectives to get Durand line recognized as international border. Now the challenge is, Pakistan’s diminishing leverage over the new regime in Afghanistan. Pakistan has multiple energy routes running from these Pashtun lands including the TAPI gas pipeline -still under construction, obstructed multiple times by the insurgents from Herat and Kandahar. Other is to get hold over the Kabul regime.
Pakistan wants whatever government is over there in Kabul, may governed by Islamabad. And Pakistan is also facing a threat of re-emerging TTP, which became dormant after military operations in first half of previous decade. After the ousted of Ghani regime, Taliban has released all the prisoners including the TTP commanders and the thing is sought of disturbing and can proven to be a nightmare for Pakistan.
Yesterday’s press conference of Pakistan’s information minister reveals what is hinting towards the early recognition of new regime in Afghanistan, renowned as Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Chinese and Russian Foreign ministers also forged to stay committed to enhance coordination and communication with the Taliban, encouraging them to build an inclusive and broad-based political structure. It’s always early to reach on a prediction but if Pakistan along with the Russia and China recognizes the Afghan government, will definitely be a white-torture for United States which warned Afghan Regional neighbours to recognize the enforced regime. US in the regional politics not to a complete end but will be minimized to a certain limit. And the Troika of these regional neighbours may have turned into an eastern bloc against the west, in changing dynamics of Global Politics, especially in the Indo-Pacific.
Usman Zulfiqar Ali
The writer is columnist and Sub-Editor at GDI. He is an undergraduate student of International Relations in NUML. He can be reached at: Usmanalee124@gmail.com. He tweets @Usman_Zulfiqar_.
Very calculated and balanced analysis of the evaluing situation in Afghanistan.