Moscow-Islamabad ties; its impact on regional stability

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 03:35 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 331 times

Regional cooperation is pivotal for Afghan peace. Experience has shown that the war-wracked country cannot achieve stability without cooperation of regional states. As a result of cooperation between the West and regional countries after American intervention in Afghanistan, the country became relatively stable for a short period during the first few years, but that consensus later broke apart for different reasons. Suspicion of America’s intentions gradually escalated to a level where Russia now sees violence and rising militancy in Afghanistan, especially Daesh activities, a conspiracy against its interests, and therefore, has improved relations with the Taliban and Pakistan. In a recent development, Russian foreign minister has invited his Pakistani counterpart to pay an official visit to Russia. Pakistani media quoting officials said both sides would also talk about the political settlement of Afghan conflict besides other issues of their mutual interest.


Pakistan’s support to militants fighting in Afghanistan is the main driver of Afghan conflict. The West, particularly the United States, shows that it has failed to stop Pakistan from backing terrorists. Despite the fact that there are many questions about the steps the West has taken so far to force Pakistan to halt aiding terrorist groups, even if we accept the West has really failed, it should seek alternative ways of pressure against Pakistan. After the United States, Russia and China, as two most powerful regional states, have more influence on Pakistan, especially now that Islamabad is under growing US pressure, and trying to relieve itself of the pressure by expanding relations with Moscow and Beijing. 

Russia and China, which see their interests in the region threatened more than the United States’, should use the opportunity to rather bring more pressure on Pakistan as a threat to the entire region. Russia in particular can convince Pakistan that it cannot secure the support of regional countries if it continues to back terrorists. Moscow can also tie its cooperation with Islamabad to its real fight against terrorism. That way Pakistan will feel more isolated, thereby increasing the chance to stop its support for terror groups. Pakistan’s honesty in the war on terror is more necessary for Russia than the United States because terrorism in the region is a greater threat to Moscow than the West.   


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