N. P. Upadhyaya, Kathmandu: Russia under Vladimir Putin had hosted a regular meeting of the extended Troika on March 18, 2021, wherein the high representatives of Russia, China, the United States, and Pakistan, had met in Moscow which exclusively centered its deliberations on making progress in the intra-Afghan process to reach a negotiated settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
It was the latest super power meet on Afghanistan.
The meet was convened by Moscow in the light on how to cope with the approaching situation when the foreign forces leave Afghanistan for good by the end of the August, this year itself.
Those who had attended the Moscow’s extended meet on Afghan peace process were the representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, prominent Afghan political figures, and representatives of the Taliban movement, as well as Qatar and Turkey as guests of honor.
To recall, Qatar has played a very important role in bringing the Afghani-Taliban(s) and the US peace negotiator to table for arriving at an amicable solution after the US forces’ exit the country almost after two decades.
Needless to say, convincing the Afghani-Taliban to Qatar for talks was accomplished by Pakistan-the next door neighbor of the war torn country. Pakistan have had its own compulsions to use its good offices.
The Troika plus had included Pakistan as the countries housed in the Troika felt it necessary to include Pakistan as it is the country which is next door neighbor to the War torn Afghanistan.
To recall, immediately after the Soviet entrance in Afghanistan, an exodus in millions and millions of Afghani refugees had made their smooth way to Pakistan through the porous border between the two neighboring countries.
The refugees thus who had entered Pakistan are still inside the country since three decades plus compelling the host country to spend millions and millions for their upkeep.
So any further political chaos of for that matter destabilization of Afghanistan upon US forces withdrawal will put added burden on the neighboring country which has been housing refugees for almost three decades plus.
Back to the point:
So the Moscow meet in March early this year brought the three recognized international super powers together along with Pakistan.
This is something which is unusual in that the US which in the recent years has already forged “special ties” with what the South Asians call a “regional hooligan whose barbaric acts have pained the smaller nations of other South Asian nations” that unfortunately border India-the former slave of the British India.
Pakistan factor in Afghanistan: While the Indian side wished the visiting US secretary Antony Blinken to speak favoring “India’s essential role in Afghanistan peace process, however the US top diplomat instead has lauded China’s significant role-the arch rival of India thus frustrating its preferred “partner” in the Quad.
Antony Blinken was in Delhi last month.
The Moscow’s extended meet of the three super powers and the emerging super-regional power-Pakistan instead of India brought or say included Pakistan in the Troika plus mechanism to sort out the Afghanistan entanglement as stated in earlier paragraphs.
The deliberate “exclusion” of the Indian regime from the Moscow’s Troika meet does tell that, as many international and the South Asian political pundits believe that “India” since already has been recognized as a spoiler in the comity of nations and hence the US too apparently felt it not to embarrass the other members of the Troika that had brought Pakistan into the mechanism meant to deal with the Afghan peace process.
The US Okayed Pakistan as this country was its ally for the entire Cold War period.
The Taliban(s) tentatively hate India as this country has been assisting Ashraf Ghani’s command to pounce upon the “advancing” Taliban. The latter is about to capture Kabul-the seat of Ghani.
Fall of Kabul is round the corner, news reports opine.
With Talibani speedy advancement towards Kabul in the recent days has worried many Capitals in the world concluding as to how Afghanistan will look like as and when Taliban capture Kabul after is near to sure collapse?
India in the recent days and weeks has armed Ghani’s regime with Indian weapons to fight with the Taliban.
India with the President Ghani favors Taliban to be crushed.
Fearing attacks from the Talibani forces, India recently packed several diplomatic- consulates from the Afghanistani territory.
India concludes that it is “under Taliban scanner”.
Antony Blinken had lauded Beijing’s role while being in Delhi which came at a time when China was welcoming a Talibani “team” in Tianjin which speaks that the Taliban(s) are already a force awaiting recognition from regional and international powers if and when the Taliban’s behave in a manner that is demanded of them.
A small strip of land separates Afghanistan with China.
Matured political observers believe that after the US pullout, it would be China to enter into the land just vacated by the US.
Notably after the ouster of King Zahir Shah, Afghanistan is interruptedly in turmoil which later invited the Soviet forces and later the NATO forces.
Blinken said that China’s possible involvement in Afghanistan peace could be a positive thing.
But yet he had some tight words for China which were perhaps to console India from where he made these comments.
Interestingly, much to the dismay of the Western nations and the Indian regime, the Chinese minister Wang Yi certified the Taliban(s) as what he termed “an important military and political; force in Afghanistan”.
This has a message to all whom it may concern.
This speaks of China’s intimacy with the Taliban authorities which will be “in use” after foreign forces’ withdrawal this September.
China is likely to enter Afghanistan upon US departures as stated in our previous articles.
This hobnob with the Chinese and the Russians augur well for Pakistan and these countries involvement (read China and Russia) in Afghan peace process will be surely carried out through the use of the good offices of Imran Khan’s Pak government and the strong Army led by COAS Bajwa.
Needless to say, Pakistan is key to peace in Afghanistan and the international powers can’t ignore Islamabad’s key contribution for peace.
The US too would not afford to annoy Pakistan as this country may act as a peace maker in between the US and Russia, and the US and China, if the time so demands.
In fact, Pakistan can replace India if the International power so desire in maintaining regional harmony and stability in South Asia as India has in many occasions has proved itself to be inefficient in heralding peace and tranquility in the region.
South Asia can’t be left to the “mercy” of the regional hooligan-India.
As long as India is in South Asia, the region is neither secure nor a peaceful one.
India’s unusual “intimacy” with Afghanistan came to the fore when during the last Dhaka SAARC Summit, during the years 2005-6, proxy Indian Prime Minister Dr. M.M Singh came face to face with Nepal King Gyanendra who failed to convince Dr. Singh that SAARC can’t have Afghanistan as a member as foreign forces were inside Afghanistan.
However, Dr. Singh’s arrogance subdued King Gyanendra’s voice but yet he in turn was able to bring in China as Observer in the SAARC regional body.
Though China cheated the King when the King needed China most.
Later Dr. Singh made the Nepal King to abdicate his throne through the king courtesy of India’s yes men-the paid agents in Nepali politics.
Rest is history.
Pakistan-a close friend of China and to some extent of the US both prefer peace and want to see a government in Afghanistan that is the “choice” of the Afghani people.
This is Pakistan’s standard position.
Talking to PBS News anchor Judy Woodruff dated 30 July last week, PM Imran Khan says his country pushed the Taliban to negotiate with the US over the ending the conflict in Afghanistan and added that the best political outcome is an “inclusive” government”.
“I think the US has really messed it up in Afghanistan”, so says Imran Khan talking to Judy Woodruff, July 28.
In PM Khan’s view, the US’s accelerated troop exist has left the US with what he called “bargaining power” for making a peace deal between warring Afghans.
Taliban have now upper hand with the exit announcement of the US, Khan believes.
The US, Russia, China troika plus Pakistan:
Much to the disappointment, rather an insulting one, the Moscow meet of Russia of March 18, 2021, the Russian capital that hosted a regular meeting of the extended “Troika” comprising representatives of Russia, China, the United States, and Pakistan, on March 18, 2021, focused on making progress in the intra-Afghan process to reach a negotiated settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire is all set to meet once again in Qatar on August 11 next week.
The Troika plus Pakistan has summarily “ignored” India-the regional spoiler which has of late brought more chaos in Afghanistan thus damaging the “peace process”.
Except Ashraf Ghani, India is the “odd man out” in this India pained region and conversely Pakistan’s international image has got elevated which neds to be kept up henceforth.
Yet another headache for the regional ruffian.
Commenting on the Russian-US interaction on Afghanistan, the Russian special envoy for Afghanaistan Zamir Kabulov said in Moscow that it was developing successfully, and that both countries had generally coinciding views on the Afghan peace settlement, reports the Pajhwok monitor (Afghan news) dated 31 July.
President Vladimir Putin’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov made some important announcements on Afghan peace process at an online briefing in Moscow at the end of the last month.
Notably, a delegation of the Taliban had visited Moscow at the end of last month to offer assurances that their quick gains on the ground in Afghanistan do not threaten Russia or its allies in Central Asia, so reported the TASS news agency. He also opined that Talibani movement in Afghanistan’s north will in many more ways than one decrease the threat of the ISIS to the Central Asian nations.
It must have come as a great relief to the Central Asian countries.
When asked which country has the most influence in Afghanistan, Zamir Kavulov unhesitatingly said there was no single most-influential state, but rather four, namely China, Russia, the US, and Pakistan.
“Pakistan has the greatest influence on the Taliban, but that does not mean it controls or guides them, Kabulov added.
Admitting Pakistan’s key role in the peace process, Kabulow stated that “Pakistan is a firm partner of Russia. We are on the same wavelength….the Pakistani leadership … is not interested in turning Afghanistan into an Islamic emirate”.
Kabulov is soon to meet his US, Chinese and the Pakistani counterparts (the extended Troika) in Doha on August 11, 2021.
Meanwhile, in Islamabad, the Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri underlined the importance Pakistan attached to the Troika Plus as an important forum for facilitating the Afghan peace process.
It is in this background that the Pak Army Chief has told the Afghani media men just the other day that “Stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan is inter-linked”.
Gen Bajwa pointedly told the media men that “no sabotage from external forces shall be tolerated as the Pak-Afghan border security is meaningful”.
India visibly is being sidelined by International powers which count in institutionalizing peace in Afghanistan. The Troika plus is an international recognition to Pakistan. That’s all.