By Jawad Ahmed
Pakistan is pursuing all the possible avenues of foreign diplomacy to track the path of geo-economics. By taking exceptional foreign policy initiatives especially for Afghanistan, Pakistan is proving to the world that it is the co-stakeholder when it comes to the regional stability and prosperity. In this regard, friends of Afghanistan meeting held in China with a five point joint statement recommending the way forward for creating a stable and secure Afghanistan.
This meeting was chaired by State Councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi and the foreign ministers and the representatives of Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited China to attend the third meeting of the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan. The agenda of this meeting was “to build consensus among the neighbours on the issues in Afghanistan and to discuss the ways to stabilize and support the Afghan people”.
This is a fact that instability in Afghanistan will have consequences for the entire world, there is need to deal Afghanistan through the prism of collective responsibility to avoid future problems. The countries participating in the meeting expressed respect for independence, territorial sovereignty and national unity of Afghanistan. Stressing the significance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan the participants urged the countries to honestly fulfil the commitments on the economic recovery and future development of Afghanistan.
Earlier, Chinese foreign minister visited Afghanistan and expressed willingness to gear the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan, this reflects the Chinese approach to indulge Afghanistan in the mainstream through regional connectivity.
Pakistan and China has been paying great attention to deteriorating situation of Afghan people who suffer from a combination of Covid-19 pandemic and social turmoil. It is a proven fact that instability in any country not only effects the domestic audience but also the region. If Afghanistan remains instable politically, economically then it will have implications for its neighbouring countries.
Unfortunately, Taliban are not behaving the way the world is expecting them to behave, instead of engaging with the world community Taliban are still pursuing the hand liner policy as recently denied girls from school education. Taliban at least needs be a little flexible in their approach. On one side, all are accusing the attitude of Western World particularly the US but Taliban needs to changer their attitude if not for the world but for their own people.
This important meeting took place at the moment when Western countries are more focusing on Ukrainian crisis resultantly Afghans are suffering. This is responsibility of regional countries not to allow Afghanistan be centre to chaos again. Ignoring Afghanistan right at the moment is not going to resolve the situation but would further increase it. In threats of non-state actors and terrorist organizations, regional countries expressed need to strengthen counter-terrorism and security cooperation with Afghanistan to help it build counter-terrorism capacity.
Now, Western countries needs to take the responsibility in assisting Afghanistan as it was the western international coalition of almost 50 countries that remained dominating in Afghanistan for twenty years. It is the responsibility of the international community and the world powers who used Afghanistan as a ground for their proxies.
Looking into the Pakistan’s foreign policy towards Afghanistan in the last twenty years, Pakistan categorically chanted about Afghan owned and Afghan led solution and no military but a political solution of Afghanistan. America ultimately, had to go that way that there has to be a political solution of Afghan issue.
Afghanistan is a land locked country, Central Asian states also have no direct access to the open waters. Both Central Asian States and Afghanistan finds a shortest route through Pakistan to get access to the open waters. South Asia and Central Asia are full of connectivity as CPEC is there, Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) and CASA 1000 projects are going through the Afghanistan. These energy projects could be successful if stability comes over in Afghanistan as it is a connecting point between Central Asia and South Asia. Once China, Pakistan and all the important countries of the region and global world get together to improve the current plight of Afghan people and country, it will only lead to the progress not only to the Afghan people but for the region in particular.
* Jawad Ahmed, The writer is Islamabad based researcher with having interest in Politics, Bilateralism and Strategic Studies.