From the very beginning of his election campaign, President Ashraf Ghani was promising to bring about a regional consensus in a bid to restore stability to Afghanistan. Many Afghans, including President Ghani, believe that Afghanistan can achieve stability only through a regional consensus and a balanced engagement with superpowers. The president might also have made efforts to reach that goal, but he seems unsuccessful so far, and even not only could he not honor his pledge, but the existing relative balance is also on the brink of destruction.
The menace of confrontation between regional and global powers in Afghanistan has become ever serious. The shift in Russian stance on, and attitude of China, Iran and Pakistan towards Afghan issues amplify the peril of a new face-off. Once a strong supporter of NATO presence in Afghanistan, Moscow now openly views that engagement as a threat against Russia, and acknowledges its ties with anti-Afghan government insurgents.
Through its unnecessary closeness with the west, particularly the United States, the National Unity Government (NUG) is squandering the available opportunity of regional consensus and a balance in foreign ties. If government leaders continue to stick with their current foreign policy largely tilted towards western states, the threat of turning Afghanistan into a theater of proxy wars of global powers will gradually become more serious.
Given the country’s deteriorating situation, it is time to rigorously reevaluate the government’s foreign policy. NUG leaders should realize the sensitivity and urgency of a potential clash between superpowers, and tweak Afghan foreign policy in a way that can better protect Afghanistan’s national interests. Getting very closer to any country or bloc that can lead to a hostility with others may have grave consequences for a country particularly like Afghanistan which is not yet able to compete militarily and/or economically with any regional country.