Afghanistan is facing the worst humanitarian crisis for the last forty years. The unfortunate terrain of Afghanistan has been pushed by different arch-rivals to exercise their own strategic interest in sterile mountains. Afghanistan geo-strategic location is always been a testy sandwich for major global players. The great game was ostentatiously played on the soil of Afghanistan. Scrambling soviet tanks and clumsy US war machinery utterly ruined the very tone of this country. Millions were fled and displaced. State infrastructure, health care system, societal bonds, political fabrics, economy, and even every domain of life have been ravaged.
Many believe that durable peace and long-lasting security situation in Afghanistan is dependent on the level and nature of external interference in its internal affairs. Recent US-Taliban Peace talks have triggered Taliban attacks on Afghans national security forces, which they considered as an asymmetric enemy. Intra Afghan dialogue is not working. Taliban, which is being claimed as a victorious faction against NATO and ISAF, will preserve the right to rule Afghanistan once again.
The US fought more than 19-year long war against Taliban militants and now she is striving to set them all on table talk. At the same time, the notion of combating groups should be dislodged from the political process are gaining momentum in Afghanistan political discourse.
Covid-19 pandemic is vehemently exacerbating growing uncertainties in Afghanistan. Taliban is going to use this menace as rising leverage. In case of partial and complete lock-down, they may ignite their covert assault against Afghanistan security forces. Covid-19 will give the Taliban a magnificent opportunity to use it as a tool against running the Ashraf Ghani government. Afghan national security forces, civil-military expenditures are largely dependent on foreign aids and US huge financial assistance. Shrinking global financial movement will definitely harm the Afghan security force’s capabilities requirements. It will be difficult for the Ashraf Ghani government to steer the country affairs with limited foreign financial and military supports.
Different regional and non-regional actors, as well as powers, have huge strategic interests in Afghanistan. It’s a converted battlefield for different global players where they have their own brutal national interest. China’s has a fear of ETIM and Uighur militants who could plant roots on the soil of Afghanistan. Iran’s fear is directly linked with US physical military presence in Afghanistan, Russia has a decades-long phobia against Militant Islamist insurgents and it also very careful about US presence. Pakistan which shares a long border with Afghanistan has its own multipurpose economic and security interest in Afghanistan. Pakistan believes India is another looming threat to national security. Indian interest is to get access to the untapped natural resources of Afghanistan is challenging Pakistan’s influence in Afghanistan. Therefore, without coherence and mutual trust between the regional and extra-regional actors, stability in Afghanistan wouldn’t be materialized in an actual sense.
Afghanistan is no more a Pakistan-dependent country though it is a prisoner of geography. On the other side, India is increasing its footholds in Afghanistan. Pak-Afghanistan trade is dramatically decreased from USD 5 billion to USD 1.5 billion. Economic ties between India and Afghanistan is booming. India is working on a railway track from Irani seaport Chabahar to resources rich Hajikak district of Afghanistan. Afghanistan may use Irani seaports to bypass Pakistan as the only transit route to the Arabian Sea. Because of the changing regional geostrategic landscape, rising tension in the South China Sea, reshaping new regional blocs, China BRI project, and China- Pakistan Economic Corridor, Afghanistan has been enjoying immense importance nowadays.
Qaiser Mahmood, an undergraduate student of International Relations, International Islamic University, Islamabad.