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NATO Withdrawal Concerns of Afghan Leading Neighbors; an Opportunity for Afghanistan

NATO Withdrawal Afghanistan

As the 2014 gets closer, the concerns of the afghan leading neighbors about post 2014 Afghanistan also become bolder. The afghan dominant neighbors; Russia, India and to some extend china have recently showed their worries about post 2014 Afghanistan more noticeably in occasions around the region. The security and the economy issues have combined the core stone of the concerns expressed by the three countries. The concerns discomfort the three countries not only indicate a unity of worries about post 2014 Afghanistan among the afghan leading neighbors but also there seems the neighboring concerns are of those which the afghans and its international allies are already trying to overcome.

Russia and India at some extend similarly have been the victims of terrorist attacks by groups linked to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In both the countries also a large number of youthful populations regularly have been targeted by the narcotics from Afghanistan. China’s western autonomous territories are vulnerable to Islamist extremists mixed with ethnic separatists.

Perceiving the religious extremists as a tool at the hand of Pakistani establishment India fears post 2014 Afghanistan to be dominated by Pakistan backed extremists. Therefore India the same as the past favors a strong, independent, stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan as being crucial to her security interests and for overall stability of the region in the evolving geo-political and geo-strategic scenarios. Building up and sustaining the capability of the government of Afghanistan through the framework of strategic cooperation agreements signed in 2011 is therefore the first and indispensable step in the pursued of this objective.

The subcontinent like other developing economies needs to secure access to energy resources. Energy rich and untapped markets of central Asia is a lucrative option for the regional economy like India.  For India, Afghanistan is undoubtedly a very important partner and a corridor in the region to secure its entry into energy rich and untapped markets of central Asia. Therefore, India helps Afghanistan’s reconstruction not only in light of security competition between India and Pakistan but also on the other hand the Indian officials suavely pursue a desire to show that India has earned the capability  to be seen  as an extra-regional power moving toward great power status that can no longer ignore regional opportunities and challenges.

The two leading members of “SCO” both worry about the economy and security in the central Asia and both continue a constant fight against terrorism, radicalism and separatism. Therefore, the interests and the targets of Russia and China primarily coincide in the central Asian and Afghanistan.

The combined threat of narcotics and terrorism reach Russia through Central Asian countries from Afghanistan. Russia is primarily a transit country but many of the drugs entering the country are now targeting youthful population of Russians. Due to wide use of narcotics by a large number of people, Russia now faces major problems. Criminal groups linked with the narcotics are active in Russia.

Today’s Russia has one of the fastest growing drug problems in the world. With its porous south border and large illicit migrations from central Asia, it is now integrated into the global drug market. One of the sources of narcotics in Russia is Afghanistan. The drugs trafficked from Afghanistan are partly used in Russia. The narcotic mafias use Tajikistan is a major gateway to Russia, other post-Soviet states and Europe for drugs from Afghanistan.

Apart from the drugs, Russia considers central Asia as its near abroad “Russia’s privileged zone”. Perceiving the importance of energy in economy, Russia has largely invested in energy projects in the central Asian in order to continue a dominant position against other powers. On the other hand According to experts, the Central Asian governments have proven unable to provide sufficiently widespread economic benefits to their populations, curb corruption and criminality, reduce religious extremism, strengthen their local security forces, or address other potential socioeconomic tensions. The above challenges make central Asia susceptible of a sever disorders.

China’s westernmost territories have been recognized as a place where Islamist extremists in combination with ethnic separatists doing separatist and terrorist activities. The territories are vulnerable to Islamist extremists mixed with ethnic separatists. Therefore, the main concerns of China are Islamist extremists mixed with ethnic separatist organizations operating in the country whose members are trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

On the other hand, over the last decades, China has increasingly brought Central Asia within its economic orbit. Its trade with the five Central Asian countries has unbelievably increased. Energy, precious metals, and other natural resources flow into China from the region. And Investment flows the other way, as China builds pipelines, power lines and transport networks linking Central Asia to its north-western province, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

According to both Chinese and Russian officials, the NATO drawdown in 2014 may pose numerous risks in the region from both security and economic aspects. The critical issue for the above countries is whether the region will become unstable after NATO’s drawdown in Afghanistan. according to leading members of shanghai cooperation organization The possible post 2014 unrest in Afghanistan can surely resuscitate the silent religious and social disputes in central Asia which simply endangers the wide investments and security interests of the two countries in the region.

Worries of the leading neighbors, Russia, India and chain about post 2014 Afghanistan give unique opportunities For Afghanistan. It gives Afghanistan the opportunities to encounter challenges threaten the continuation of the state in Afghanistan. Perceiving the regional concerns regarding post NATO withdrawal Afghanistan, the political community in Kabul by the use of the apprehensions beside the international struggle can simply unify the regional efforts against terrorism and Pakistan and somewhat Iran backed insurgency in the region.

The regional insurgency concerns also give Afghanistan the chance to get assistance for domestic reconstruction. Fearing afghan instability spillover, the concerned states help Afghanistan prevent falling at the hand of Arab and Pakistan backed terrorism and radicalism.

Mohammad Yasin Sultani is a permanent writer of the Afghanistan Express Daily. He can be contacted through yaasin.sultani@gmail.com

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