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Regional interests in Stake when Biden announces his withdrawal from Afghanistan – The Diplomat


Circuit | Protect | South Asia

Russia, China, Iran, India, and above all, Pakistan, whose interests are threatened when the US wants to withdraw from Afghanistan.

It was the 20th-century British philosopher Bertrand Russell who described the nature of war as deciding not who is right but who is wrong. Nowhere in the world this description is more applicable than the US war in Afghanistan. After two decades of conflict, what remains is a bruised and crumbling country whose future is now less certain than it was 20 years ago. USA spent more than 2 trillion dollars and lost more than 2,400 soldiers in that little war shows it of remarkable achievements. The question today is not what the United States can do to achieve its goals, but how it can reduce the damage it incurs while in Afghanistan.

The previous presidents of the United States made the mistake of trying to answer both of these questions at the same time, proposing a conditional withdrawal subject to variables beyond U.S. control. These unattainable conditions turned a brief attack to overthrow the Taliban regime into a war forever, making the United States another victim of the “cemetery of the empires”.

Recently notification The actions of President Joe Biden in connection with the US withdrawal are different from those of his predecessors. The United States seemed to understand that the only option it had to get out of the war trap permanently was not to impose any conditions for withdrawal. The more conditions Washington imposes, the more difficult they are to be met, and the more likely it is that the United States remains bogged down.

Unfortunately for the Afghan government in Kabul, this decision appears to have thrown them under the proverbial bus, leaving them with the mercy of domestic actors. Taliban showed reluctance regarding the upcoming Afghanistan internal peace summit scheduled to take place in April in Turkey. Following Biden’s announcement, the Taliban sternly refused to attend and The summit was postponed until after the month of Ramadan and possibly much longer. Given that peace in Afghanistan depends on the success of Afghanistan’s internal negotiations, the current trajectory of events suggests that Afghanistan’s future is quite precarious and uncertain.

The effects of this uncertainty will manifest themselves across the region. In the past, neighboring countries like Russia and China have benefited greatly from the US presence in Afghanistan, aiming to stifle the spread of extremism beyond its borders. However, the withdrawal of US troops is expected to open up new forces in the region, thus requiring more participation from geographically close powers that want to protect their own interests.

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Russia has been closely following developments in Afghanistan, which had a direct border with the Soviet Union during the Soviet era. The Soviet Union fought in its own dire long war in the country from 1979 to 1989. In the event of US withdrawal, the non-state organizations could move more freely in the region, popularizing their ideology and radicalization of Muslim groups in Russia and Central Asian countries. In the past, the Russian government has shown its support for a political arrangement between it and the Taliban; However, given the dynamics at present, that seems an increasingly difficult result to achieve. Hameed Hakimi, a research associate with Chatham House, believes that Russia is now seeking to establish patronage network in Afghanistan to gain advantage over other regional powers. These proxies will be helpful in shaping events in Afghanistan according to Russian expectations.

For China, Afghanistan holds both security and economic value. Afghanistan is bordered by China’s Xinjiang province, which Beijing considers affected by terrorism, extremism and separatism – the so-called three evils. Over the past few years, China has provided the government of Afghanistan 70 million dollars military aid to bolster its counterterrorism efforts – especially in the Wakhan corridor. However, the unconditional withdrawal could cause China to diversify its options and strengthen ties with the Taliban. China has been developing itself as a global leader in renewable energy technologies and Afghanistan is The rare earth mineral reserve is worth $ 1 trillion is expected to attract interest from China. The security situation has prevented China from exploiting these resources in the past. However, it is possible that China will seek to nurture relations with Afghanistan so that these resources can be exploited. Any future Afghan regime looking to reduce its dependence on aid would welcome such an investment.

The withdrawal of US troops is expected to affect Iran’s interests. A stable Afghanistan would prevent Iran’s exposure to threats from non-state organizations such as the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP). However, it is unlikely that the current trajectory of events will be viewed favorably in Tehran. With the Taliban in a stronger negotiating position than it is today, it is predicted that any government apparatus formed after the withdrawal of the United States will be dominated by the presence of the Taliban. Given their history, such factors would push Afghanistan into Saudi Arabia’s sphere of influence – a move that is detrimental to Iran’s position in the region. In the past, Saudi Arabia gave up its support for the Taliban under US pressure. Once the United States leaves Afghanistan, such pressure is unlikely to continue. Iran may try to minimize the impact of such an outcome by increasing the presence of proxy network In Afghanistan.

Biden’s withdrawal announcement seems to be there ruffled fur in India – a regional player has a lot to lose under the current circumstances. Since 2001, India has invested in 3 billion dollars in Afghanistan to promote strong ties with Kabul. Over the past two decades, it has been able to use its presence in the country to be secure strategic siege of Pakistan and Pakistan’s hindrance strategic depth theory. The withdrawal of US troops changed India’s position in Afghanistan. The Taliban, now in a foothold, are expected to change the balance of power in Pakistan’s favor. If the past is any guide, maybe militants withdrawn from Afghanistan may turn their attention to the Kashmir rebels – events of 1989 repeat. These loss stakes would prompt India to lobby the United States to reconsider its withdrawal terms in favor of provisions for the pro-Indian elements of Afghanistan’s power circles.

In terms of shares in the Afghan situation, Pakistan is second only to Afghanistan. The conventional view is that the news about the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will be welcome with open arms in Pakistan. However, a departure without an agreement on Afghanistan’s future government could spell trouble for Pakistan. Such an exit is expected to aggravate conflict in Afghanistan, with the potential to spill over into Pakistan. It not only meant that the influx of refugees poured into the already strained Pakistani economy, but also gave drug and weapons smuggling a new life. Therefore, Pakistan faced a paradoxical situation. While on one side, strengthen the Taliban’s negotiating position Foreshadowed good for Pakistan’s interests, such a strengthened position could lead to instability in Afghanistan, thereby damaging Pakistan’s interests.

As the United States prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s future remains uncertain. The current US bargaining chip to prevent the Taliban from a hostile takeover is international recognition – or lack thereof – for a future Taliban government. Observing the history of the former Taliban regime, such deterrence is quite weak. If current trends continue, Afghan internal dialogue will most likely end in failure. Such a failure would destabilize Afghanistan and jeopardize regional interests. Therefore, stakeholders in the region have the right to break the current internal Afghanistan deadlock by pushing the parties towards the bargaining table. If not, they will also sink into crisis after US troops leave Afghanistan.

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