Any assessment of where Afghanistan stands today needs to be put into its historical context. In doing so, it should be recalled that even before the advent of the present conflict, Afghanistan had been one of the least developed countries in the world. The country’s development was hindered by competing Russian and British empires for more than two centuries. The imperial tensions and rivalry effectively reduced Afghanistan to one of the most isolated buffer states in the world. But before the colonial era, Afghanistan had been the roundabout of the ancient Silk Road, indeed, its gateway to the north, south, east, and west for commercial and civilizational interactions.Continue reading
Category: South Asia
Partnership defines this fast shrinking century. Since the end of the Cold War, the world has increasingly become interdependent both in security and economic development terms. That is why countries no longer speak with the kind of zero-sum undertones, which they used to do in the last decades of the Cold War and the early years of the post-Cold War. At least in rhetoric, ‘win-win partnership’ has replaced the realpolitik jargon of the past century and increasingly guides states towards a new world order whereby every state should be afforded the opportunity to grow and develop alongside the rest.Continue reading
This summer, the Afghan government hosted the first International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul. Our allies from around the world recommitted to a firm partnership with the Afghan government as we begin taking over and gradually leading the stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. We welcomed Pakistan as an important regional partner in the fight against terrorism and extremism, which destabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan alike. And we continue to believe that the war can be won only through a concerted international partnership, with an emphasis on integration and strategic coordination of military and civilian assistance to Afghanistan.
India and Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as full member-states in the 8-9 June 2017 SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. Before the addition of the two South Asian nations, the SCO consisted of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The now eight-member SCO also has four observer-states, including Afghanistan, and six dialogue-partners, including Sri Lanka. In total and together, they constitute much of the Asian geography with a population of over three billion people.
On August 15, 2016, the backyard of the Indian embassy in Kabul filled with Afghans of every walk and every ethno-sectarian background for a reception to celebrate the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. Afghan guests lined up from the embassy’s entrance door to the area where the ambassador of India to Afghanistan, Manpreet Vohra, and his colleagues were welcoming guests. Afghans extended to the ambassador, the Indian people, and the Indian residents in Afghanistan their heartfelt congratulations on India’s independence and wished Indians welfare and prosperity, in peaceful coexistence with their neighbors.
The relationship between Sufism and Sikhism dates back to the time of Guru Nanak (1469-1539), who led a modest life of profound, spiritual devotion, focused on building bridges of love, tolerance, co-existence, and harmony among peoples of diverse faiths and socio-economic status. So immersed in piety and teaching his disciples to live spiritually, honestly, and harmoniously was the Guru, that many of his Muslim contemporaries, especially Sufis, called him a true Muslim.Continue reading
In “How to Bring Peace to Afghanistan” (Op-Ed, June 16), Stephen J. Hadley and Moeed Yusuf are right that Pakistan’s behavior must change if Afghanistan is to attain stability. But they are naïve in thinking that what they propose will produce such change.Continue reading
In a recent New York Times op-ed, “What Trump Needs to Learn from Vietnam,” David Elliot draws lessons from America’s experience in Vietnam for Afghanistan. His opinion follows those of a few others, who have similarly argued over the past 16 years that Afghanistan has slowly turned into America’s Vietnam, a quagmire, from which the United States must disengage. While studying the complexity of Vietnam War remains interesting for academics and policymakers, it offers no relevant lessons for international engagement in Afghanistan.Continue reading
Recently, this author was invited to a track 1.5 China-Afghanistan-Pakistan symposium on “Tackling Terrorist Threats, Jointly Safeguarding Regional Security” in Beijing. The rare trilateral symposium was welcomed by the three sides as a good opportunity to exchange views and to offer tangible, policy and operational solutions for the consideration of their respective governments to help them address jointly the intertwined threats of terrorism, extremism, and criminality in the region. The discussions were so constructive on the seminal role, which major regional stakeholders can play to stabilise Afghanistan, that the absence of an Indian delegation was needfully felt around the table.Continue reading