In most cases, Afghan governments have turned to foreign countries and super powers for support instead of relying on the power of their own citizens, which has allowed some other countries to view the move as a conspiracy against them, thereby prompting them to follow the suit, and resort to interference and counterplotting. Afghan people are now the victims of similar conspiracies.
While unveiling his new strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump castigated Pakistan for its destructive role in Afghanistan, commended India for its constructive role, and called on New Delhi to deepen its involvement in Afghanistan. Following the announcement, the roles of India and Pakistan in Afghanistan grabbed the headlines. The issue has further heated up these days as US Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis is in India to discuss various issues with Indian officials, and Afghanistan is also high on their agenda.
The statements made by American officials to encourage New Delhi to strengthen its role in Afghanistan have invited strong reactions from Islamabad. Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said any kind of political and military role of India in Afghanistan was not acceptable to Pakistan. As an independent and sovereign state, Afghanistan reserves the right to have relations with any country, yet maintaining a balance in relations between countries is a must for Kabul. Afghanistan has suffered so much from its imbalanced foreign policy for the past half century, which is also a major factor for the ongoing problems in the country.
Given the existing challenges, Afghan government and Afghan people in general must keep a balance in ties with regional nations. India has played a constructive role in Afghanistan since the collapse of the Taliban regime, and is one of the nations that have a good reputation among Afghan people. Indian role in Afghanistan can remain constructive as long as other regional countries don’t view it as a threat to their interests. Now that Afghanistan has been embroiled in an imposed war, the government should try not to let its friendly relations with one country alienate other countries. It is right that maintaining a balance in relations with New Delhi and Islamabad is difficult, but it is an inescapable necessity for Kabul.