Afghanistan Cannot Be Abandoned To China-Pakistan-Russia Troika In 2017 – Analysis


By Dr Subhash Kapila*

Afghanistan seemed to have disappeared from the United States radar in the months to the run-up to US Presidential Elections resulting in a void which the China-Pakistan-Russia Troika has exploited to US disadvantage.

Strategically the United States invested heavily in Afghanistan in terms of billions of dollars and thousands of US soldiers lost to Pakistan Army duplicitous double-timing the United States while professing to be a trusted ally of long-standing. In 2017, the United States would be well-advised not to let the China-Pakistan-Russia Trilateral muscle into what rightly deserves to be called United States strategic turf.

The US incoming Trump Administration’s highest priority task on assumption of office on January 2017 should be not to abandon Afghanistan .On the contrary the United States should ensure that the machinations of the China-Pakistan-Russia Troika by what initially appears only as a ‘pious’ political intervention is not allowed to morph into an eventual some sort of quasi-military Troika intervention.

The United States new policy establishment must be alive to the developing China-Pakistan-Russia Troika’s unfolding of prompting the United States exit from Afghanistan. It is akin to China’s evolving strategic end-aim of prompting the United States military exit from Western Pacific due to sheer combat fatigue.

Abandoning Afghanistan to the Troika would not amount not only to United States exit from Afghanistan but also selling away on a platter United States vital strategic interest and influence in Greater South West Asia and Central Asia. Combining China’s strategy to prompt United States exit from the Western Pacific and China’s new attempt to prompt the United States to abandon Afghanistan, both added together, would result in an inexorable strategic diminution of the United States status as the global Superpower.

In the recent past, the United States co-opted in its efforts to restore stability in Afghanistan oblivious to the fact that China was the only other country than Pakistan to maintain links with the Taliban. China all along has been securing Pakistan’s security stakes in Afghanistan. In more simple words China’s strategy is to ensure a Pakistan Army-friendly regime is installed in Kabul. Obviously, this would be a return of the Taliban regime in Kabul propped by Pakistan.

In 2017, with the concerted efforts of China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Troika to meddle in Afghanistan as evidenced by the Troika holding three meetings including the last one in Moscow, excluding Afghanistan’s participation, it becomes pertinent to analyse the motives of these three countries in meddling in Afghanistan.

But before that what needs to be highlighted is the salient fact that all indicators available point to Troika’s one end-aim and that is to embed them in Afghanistan excluding the United States. The plea taken is that instability in Afghanistan affects the stability of their respective countries. Can the United States accept such a strategic situation to develop?

Analysing the intentions of these countries, Pakistan heads the list. Pakistan’s motives for the last seven decades are glaring. If it has its way, Pakistan would very much like to reduce Afghanistan to a Pakistani colonial entity. That has not been possible and the next option was to keep Afghanistan in a constant of turbulence by Pakistani disruptive activities including use of Jihadi affiliates of the ISI for suicide bombings and attacks.

In tandem, Pakistan has succeeded in ensnaring the two Major Powers, China and now Russia, both adversarial to the United States, to get involved in Afghanistan on specious grounds.

China’s end-aims stand stated above. Other than propping up Pakistan’s security stakes in Afghanistan, China has no substantial stakes there other than geopolitical power games against the United States. Afghanistan is not even material to China’s latest project in Pakistan, the CPEC.

0f course China and Pakistan have convergent aims in keeping India’s presence out of Afghanistan, both for military and geopolitical reasons.

Russia is the odd-man out in the China-Pakistan-Russia Troika. By seconding China and Pakistan on Afghanistan, Russia may be playing geopolitical games against the United States, but in the process Russia is losing immeasurable goodwill in India. But that that does not seem to be bothering Russia presently, unless Russia-United States relations take a different turn with incoming US President Trump, and Russia then desists from geopolitical games in concert with China against the United States.

Concluding, it needs to be pointed out that with a galaxy of US Generals included in President-elect Trump’s Cabinet who have dealt with Afghanistan, the United States does not need an Indian strategic analyst to highlight how vital Afghanistan is for United States national security interests. More so, when China in the garb of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Pakistan Axis is bent on overturning the geopolitical stability of the region. Afghanistan now is the incoming US President Trump’s most pressing call.

*Dr Subhash Kapila is a graduate of the Royal British Army Staff College, Camberley and combines a rich experience of Indian Army, Cabinet Secretariat, and diplomatic assignments in Bhutan, Japan, South Korea and USA. Currently, Consultant International Relations & Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. He can be reached at [email protected]


SAAG is the South Asia Analysis Group, a non-profit, non-commercial think tank. The objective of SAAG is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding.

8 thoughts on “Afghanistan Cannot Be Abandoned To China-Pakistan-Russia Troika In 2017 – Analysis

  • January 18, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    US occupation of Afghanistan will never be accepted by the local people.It is only a matter of time before US is kicked out.Russia,China,Pakistan and Iran don’t want US presence in their backyard.If these countries start arming the Taliban with heavy weapons then US will withdraw from Afghanistan very quickly.

  • January 19, 2017 at 12:49 am

    These countries do not need to arm Taliban or any other group. They just need to ignore the US and get on with Peace.
    For the Middle East or any other group to focus on the problem stops them from seeing solutions.

  • January 19, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Typical indian mentality, biased, narrowly focused how to pose Pakistan as a bad boy in the region.what American ,NATO and Indians are doing in Afghanistan;bringing peace ? hahahaha what a jock

  • January 19, 2017 at 11:50 am

    My sincere advice to this Indian writer is that India should ask Afghanistan to act against all terror groups operating in Afghanistan rather than advising Afghanistan to provide shelter to terrorist groups that target Pakistan from Afghanistan. Seems like Indian journalists have gone so far in love with the US that they are ready to abandon even Russia !

  • January 19, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    This article depicts polluted mentality of Indian against Pakistan. In fact india is using Afghanistan as terrorist nursery. While kabul Govt. which is very weak and unstable keeps false blaming of neighbors to hide their weakness and inability to control the country. Pakistan does not want a colony but a peaceful, prosperous and cooperative Afghanistan.

  • January 28, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Everyone knows the Economic upward curve of Wars for some factions of all parties involved. Taliban were planted by the CIA to BATE Russia into their own Vietnam and the Russians took the bate. Later the US fell victim to its own created evil. There is a BIG DEFENSE INDUSTRY in the US which profits from perpetual US Wars. US wars anywhere in the world historically bring Pakistan a windfall of $$$$$s. Pakistan’s National Economic Data proves that. Pakistan made billions during these last 15 years from the US and China, thanks to India and the US. So, if you Indians really hate Pakistan, be careful for what you wish for them as your hate really gives them what you do not want them to have. Pakistan’s Economics is many times better than Indian and Chinese, Surprised, you should be. Stop the hate, work with them rationally if love is not possible. All the best.

  • March 8, 2017 at 1:05 am

    When ANY Indian pundit ANYWHERE starts writing/speaking about ANYTHING, all one has to do is count a few Mississippis and voila he/she will bring up Pakistan in a negative light and ascribe all sorts of ‘redonkulous’ allegations/negative comments/claims that on careful scrutiny do not hold up. Yet these smart Indians continue to clutter up the æther with ‘fake analysis’.

    As for Afghanistan, it is not unlike any other failed, poorly-governed region. The Pashtuns have been restive since 1800s when British tried their hand and civilizing them. So either US can subjugate them militarily and then change their behavior OR invest in economic infrastructure unleashing developmental forces to compel Pashtuns to change from tribal to modern society. At the moment, China is doing the latter much better than the US.
    One last thing; the Indian seems to be geographically challenged. He rails against the troika. If his prescription is to be adopted then how does US maintain its strategic perch in the “greater central asia” without partnering with Pakistan? The only other option is to use Iran to access the Central Asian region. Is that what he has in mind?

  • March 8, 2017 at 3:14 am

    This is India begging USA to protect India’s interests in Afghanistan. Because by the looks of it even USA has abandoned Afghanistan as a lost cause. But India want to play USA to its own benefit, such a shameful author who is also an extremists Hindu that supports BJP a hindu terrorist organization.


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