A hasty international withdrawal from Afghanistan would be unwise. We should also guard against regional spoilers who are not invested in peace and see instability in Afghanistan as advantageous for their own geopolitical ends”.
Khan had warned of “consequences” of a hasty international withdrawal from Afghanistan” which is what has now come to the fore.
Is Khan hinting at the approaching geo-political shift in the world politics after the US exit from Afghanistan? Keep fingers crossed.
Political overtures seen in world politics does tell that “grand polarization” has begun with the US exit from Afghanistan.
The bedlam that was seen at time of the Talibs entering Kabul and later capturing Kabul should have been realized by the US in advance which thus demanded that some sort of “understanding” with the Kabul-approaching Talibs to have been struck to which it was not perhaps.
However, the US began withdrawal prior to the set date and thus the disorder followed perchance.
Thus US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s penetrating comments made on Pakistan in the recent days and weeks appears far from truth, so claim the media outlets inside Pakistan.
Secretary of State Blinken had stated in the US Congress that the “US will be looking at ties with Pakistan in the coming weeks to formulate the role America wants Islamabad to play in the future of Afghanistan”.
Blinken also said that “we are looking at in the days and weeks ahead…the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years, but also the role that we would want to see it playing in the coming years”.
If the US is shocked with the lightning speed with which the Talibs captured Kabul is only but the result of the “hasty international withdrawal” about which PM Khan had warned quite in advance. The US must admit.
In addition, Pakistan’s prime minister had said as early as in July this year that America’s accelerated troop exit from Afghanistan has left Washington with no “bargaining power” for arranging a peace deal between warring Afghans”.
“I think the U.S. has really messed it up in Afghanistan,” Imran Khan told in an interview with Judy Woodruff July 27, 2021, for PBS News Hour.
Khan had also hinted that with US’s announcement of the dates of the forces withdrawal, the political leverage that Pakistan have had on Talibani forces too have diminished considerably with the US dates announcement and so the US should not accuse Pakistan that the country is not using its influence on the Talibans…. This is what the Pakistani version.
Practically disturbed by the piling up of accusations, some threat loaded statements as well from no less than US Secretary Blinken against Pakistan, since the Talibs seized power in Kabul, for Imran Khan the fresh interview with the CNN international was a superb platform not only to furnish fitting answers to the US side but also an opportune moment to remind the US that it had used and over used Pakistan in its war on Terrorism.
PM Khan said talking to Becky Anderson said that the US war against terrorism was “disastrous” for Pakistan as Washington used Islamabad like a “hired gun” during their 20-year presence in Afghanistan.
“We (Pakistan) were like a hired gun,” told the CNN anchor that “We were supposed to make them (the US) win the war in Afghanistan, which we never could.”
The fact is also that the then rulers in Islamabad willingly came to help the US call and Islamabad could have easily said “no”.
In a subtle manner PM Khan sent implied signals to Secretary Blinken that it was time when not the US but Pakistan should ask Washington on how to proceed in the days ahead for the institutionalization of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the entire region.
However, Nepali observers hasten to add that PM Khan would do well if he and his government in Islamabad strikes an unanimity of interests that satisfy each other which is in the larger interest of not only Afghanistan but also to the entire region in South Asia and beyond.
PM Khan’s anger speaks that he is not happy with the way the US is treating his country.
Taking a swipe at the US President told that Joe Biden so far has not talked with him neither on South Asian regional issues nor sought appropriate support on the future of Afghanistan after the seize of Kabul by the Talibani forces.
Khan’s discontentment appears to have quadrupled when he learns through media outlets that President Joe Biden is in regular touch with his political rival-PM Modi of India who talk with each other on Quad matters and matters related with China.
India is a strategic partner of the US as is given to understand.
Tensed with the continued neglect, if it were any, PM Khan taking a jab at the US President Biden said to Becky Anderson of the CNN (Connect the World), “He is a busy man” and later said Joe Biden should be asked (instead) “why is he too busy to call”?
(PM Khan later made his comments on Joe Biden mild while talking to the Russia Today).
This is loaded with political meaning indeed.
A close reading at the aforesaid short statements made by PM Khan on President Biden does tell that PM Khan has taken the US stance on Pakistan as an affront to his country whose role in the building of peace and stability in Afghanistan can neither be ignored by the international powers like China, Russia, Germany and the entire European Nations nor even the US could afford to ignore the country.
If so, will then PM Khan inch closer to the fold of China-the rival of the US?
Perhaps the USs continued desertion of Islamabad encouraged a competent South Asian leader (Khan) with integrity to make comments on the US President in an uncommon manner.
Pakistan understands better that the US have had to approach Pakistan, its former Cold War ally, in order to build peace and stability in Afghanistan to ensure stability in the entire region that encompasses the entire Central Asian nations which border Afghanistan.
Khan told Becky Anderson point blank that now the best way forward for peace and stability in Afghanistan is to engage with the Taliban and “incentivize” them on issues such as women’s rights and inclusive government”.
He then urged the international community to come forward to help support Afghanistan at a precarious time when they need or else “chaos” will run supreme in the days, weeks and months ahead.
If the international community doesn’t support an Afghanistan which is just at a dangerous crossroads, the new set up in South Asia and a member of the SAARC regional body could what the PM said “go to chaos”, culminating in the biggest humanitarian crisis, and resulting in a huge refugee problem, and an unstable Afghanistan for long time and […] the possibility of again terrorism from Afghanistan’s soil,” he warned.
PM Khan’s fear is genuine in that any political disturbance or say eruption of civil war in Afghanistan will once again force the poor Afghani population to ask for shelter in next door Pakistan which already houses about three million refugees since four decades or so.
So Pakistan is the hardest hit if crisis grips Afghanistan in the absence of international humanitarian support.
Since a couple of days, PM Khan has been pleading the international community to help assist stabilize Afghanistan and halt the country from becoming a land that gives birth to terror and terrorism.
Talking to Becky Anderson of the CNN, PM Khan also said that “rather than sitting here and thinking that we can control them, we should incentivize them because this current government in Afghanistan clearly feels that without international aid and help they will not be able to stop this crisis. We […] should push them in the right direction.”
Pakistan Prime Minister’s appeal to the international society through Becky Anderson of the CNN to help alleviate Afghanistan resonated also in Dushanbe, Kazakhstan, wherein four powerful regional stakeholders of Afghanistan namely, China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran together and made a strong petition to the international community to help backing Afghanistan to overcome the impending humanitarian crisis.
The four countries China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran have come close on the heels of the emergence of yet another perceived “security block”, AUKUS (comprising of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States) which too some claim is more or less like a Quad of four powerful nations primarily meant to take care of the war torn Afghanistan.
-France has retaliated the formation of the three white men’s club (Australia, the United Kingdom and the US) by the US.
“ A stab in the back”, is how the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described US President Joe Biden’s announcement of a new club of three-the US, Great Britain and Australia-under the guise of countering China in the Indo-Pacific region.
This means there is a crack in the USs western block (alliance). This crack benefits China for sure.
However, intelligent international experts claim that the Quad comprising of China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran may act to counter the Quad and the AUKUS led by the United States.
What is noteworthy in this Quad, if it is a Quad at all, formed by China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran is that all the countries housed in this Quad are more or less critical to the US political supremacy and wish the world moved through “reconciliation” and sharing and respecting each country’s needs and security concerns.
Needless to say, China and Russia differ with the US on may political counts.
Likewise, Pakistan too appears to have some “reservations” of late with its relations with the US and wants the US to treat Pakistan that it deserves as a country of integrity.
In PM Khan’s words, the US should treat Pakistan “like the US has a relationship with India” but not a “one-dimensional relationship where they are paying us to fight. We want a normal relationship”.
The US can’t treat Pakistan at par with India simply because Pakistan is not a strategic partner of the US as India is through the Quad (US, Australia, japan and India).
He said this while talking to Becky Anderson just a couple days ago.
As of Iran, the US and Iran are not on speaking terms even on count of Nuclear issues.
The timing of the formation of the Quad (China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran) in Kazakhstan assumes importance and significance for the international relations expert to read in between the lines as to what may have prompted the US in the first place and China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran in the second place to form such a security block in their own way that suit to their security needs?
The US has now several security blocks scattered in the world, opine experts.
Is China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran grouping also aa security mechanism to counter the US led security blocks?
An Indian expert on security issues, Brahma Chellany claims through his Twitter handle quoting a PRC Scholar Li Haidong that “Washington is building a NATO-like alliance in the [ Indo-Pacific] region, with AUKUS at the core, and the US-Japan and US-South Korea alliance surrounding it and the Quad at the outermost level because India is not a US ally, can’t be trusted by the US.
The USs deliberate omission of India in its security scheme this time around appears to have shocked some in India. Joe Biden suspects Indian credentials because of its USSR past.
Giving a peculiar and unexpected twist to the entire world politics, Dr. Bhaskar Koirala writes in his fresh article ” Sino-Nepal Ties in the post-Afghan era”, that the course of Sino-Nepal relations is likely to enter a new historical phase in the aftermath of the US exit from Afghanistan, and the signing of the AUKUS security pact this week between Australia, United Kingdom and the United States”.
Dr. Koirala’s assertion forces Nepal to take cautious steps in the days ahead.
Is he sensing a direct US-India conflict with China in Kathmandu?
Coming back to the Dushanbe meet of the big four: As stated in the earlier paragraphs, the Dushanbe meet brings the Russian Federation, China and Pakistan are on the same page on issues unfolding in Afghanistan.
The four countries, Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran came close at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meet in Dushanbe, September 17, when the Foreign Ministers of the four countries met on the margins of the SCO and CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) summits in Dushanbe to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
A Chinese embassy news portal in Kathmandu says that “the Ministers reaffirmed their intention to promote peace, security and stability in Afghanistan and in the region as a whole”.
The Ministers emphasized that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan should be respected, the basic principle of “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” should be implemented, and the rights to pursue peace, stability, development and prosperity by the Afghan people should be maintained.
The Chinese embassy portal in Kathmandu further states that Iran, China, Pakistan and Russia stressed the importance of engaging those states which should bear primary responsibility for post-conflict socio-economic reconstruction in Afghanistan, and should provide Afghanistan with urgently needed economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance.
The four countries noted the need to conclude national reconciliation in Afghanistan, resulting in an inclusive government that takes into account the interests of all ethno-political forces of the country.
This does mean that the Dushanbe meet brought together Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan-the countries considered to be the real stakeholders in Afghanistan.
To recall, Russia, China and Pakistan are the countries that had comprised the Troika Plus which had held round of talks with the Afghani Talibans.
Thus PM Khan’s appeal to support the Talibs to avoid a crisis, has found a strong vocal and moral support also in the Quad formed in the Kazakh capital, Dushanbe that comprises of Russia, China, Pakistan and Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pakistan, the former US ally of the cold war period appears to be distancing with US and inching closer to the lobby of countries that are considered to be the permanent enemy of the United States, for example: The Russian Federation and The People’s Republic of China.
Can Pakistan afford to lose the US? Can China be a long time partner of Pakistan?
Or wouldn’t it be advisable for Pakistan to strike a tactical balance in between its ties with the US and China?
Wisdom demands that Pakistan maintains ties both with China and Pakistan in a way that satisfies both.
This would test the acumen and sharpness of Pakistani diplomacy indeed. That’s all.