Chilly ties between Afghanistan and regional countries

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 03:26 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 165 times

Regional consensus is the basic requirement for stability in Afghanistan.  The restoration of security and peace in the country without close relations based on mutual respect with regional nations is mostly unfeasible because the root causes of Afghan conflict lie largely outside Afghanistan. Both the Afghan government and the international community know that fence-mending between Afghanistan and the regional countries is inescapable if peace is to return to the country.

 

Though President Ghani has always promised to forge regional consensus, the reality is that his efforts have proved unavailing, and not only could he not expand ties with the regional countries, but relations with some countries such as Pakistan have also reached a point that has effectively led to the closure of border crossings. 

In addition to Pakistan, ties between Afghanistan and Iran are also stained, and the Central Asian nations seem to be similarly wavering in ties with Afghanistan. For instance, Uzbekistan did not allow Afghan goods to be transported to China by rail. That is a clear indication of a tension in ties with the Central Asian countries. Moreover, Afghan-Russian dealings have also moved into uncharted waters mostly on account of Russia’s growing contacts with, and support to, the Taliban. 

The fate of Afghanistan and regional countries is inextricably intertwined, as the political instability of one country can become a concern and headache for the entire region. In the light of this relevance, the precarious situation in Afghanistan has worried the regional nations who have some questions about its continuity, which need to be addressed by the Afghan government through an active diplomacy and foreign policy, an area in which the National Unity Government has failed so far. 

To prevent further tension with the regional countries, the NUG has to rigorously reevaluate its foreign policy. The core principles of Afghan foreign policy should be clarified and tweaked in a way that can address the concerns of all parties involved in Afghan conflict, while also steering the country out of the current stalemate in the foreign policy. To do so, the National Assembly should also play a part and help right the situation by putting a squeeze on the government, because isolation can have grave consequences for a country like Afghanistan which is embroiled in a morass.