China’s role in Afghan peace

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 03:56 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 751 times

The ambiguity of US goals, and the dichotomy between American actions and words in Afghanistan have seriously hurt the global credibility of the superpower. In addition to the majority of Afghans, the regional countries which initially backed the military presence of the US-led western coalition in Afghanistan now see the presence with skepticism, and even as a threat to their interests. 

 

Although the United States accomplished its goals of intervening in Afghanistan in a very short span after toppling the Taliban regime, it later on created various pretexts to prolong its military presence. Some observers even see continued violence in Afghanistan despite American presence as “American game”. It is widely believed that the United States doesn’t want to fully prevent violence in Afghanistan in a bid to prolong its military presence; therefore, it is meaningless to expect the country to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan. 

That being the case, Afghanistan has no option, but to seek alternative ways. One of the options is to encourage regional powers, particularly China, to help Afghanistan in its quest for peace. The continuation of violence and war in Afghanistan can threaten the interests of China which has major economic projects in the pipeline for the region, so that is why it considers a stable Afghanistan in its favor. By the same token, China’s role in Afghan peace is pivotal because it wields significant influence over Pakistan as the main backer of insurgents fighting in Afghanistan. There are even estimations that China has more influence over Pakistan than the United States has. 

Unlike its long-held policy of staying away from getting involved in Afghan affairs, China has played an active role in Afghan issues over the last few years given their significance. One of the recent examples of China’s involvement in Afghanistan is the initiation of the Afghanistan-China-Pakistan Trilateral Meeting of foreign ministers, one of which will be held today in Beijing. This dialogue is a positive step only when the participants discuss the root causes of problems, and implement their commitments than deliver a ceremonial speech. Beijing has greater leverage on Islamabad it can use to press Pakistan to abandon its support for terrorists. Since instability in Afghanistan can threaten Chinese economic interests not only within Afghanistan but also in the entire region and that only a secure and stable Afghanistan serves Chinese interests, China can be trusted to play an intermediary role in, or facilitate Afghan peace.