The need for independence in foreign policy

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 02:14 Written by  Read 128 times

Afghans have paid a heavy price for choosing their friend and foe at the behest of outsiders. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it was Russians who would determine who was Kabul’s friend and enemy. After 9/11, the United States also stripped Afghans of the right to choose who should be their friend and foe. Washington is using all means to force Kabul to pick allies and adversaries with its consent. Leaders of the National Unity Government have further eased the job for Americans because of their infirm stance towards the US.
Following its withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, the United States has launched a widespread propaganda campaign against Tehran. As part of the drive, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on Iran to give up backing Taliban in Afghanistan amid increasing criticism of Tehran by Afghan officials.
It is true that Washington is the biggest military and economic ally of Kabul, which also has certain obligations to sustain the strategic partnership, but the price of being such an ally should not be very heavy that Afghanistan cannot bear. Afghanistan, willy-nilly, shares destiny with regional states. Either during or after American presence, Kabul will definitely require regional cooperation. It is impossible to exclude Tehran of the regional consensus regardless of how much it has interfered in Afghan affairs and the fact that it is viewed by Afghans as the second most evil neighbor after Pakistan. The US may maintain a military presence in Afghanistan for decades, but Afghans will have to live with Iran as a neighbor forever.
Gaining independence to shape its foreign policy or determine its friends and foes is the first step for Afghanistan to move down the path to peace and stability. As long as foreigners choose allies and adversaries for Afghanistan, peace and stability will remain elusive in the country. All countries that consider themselves allies of Kabul, including the US, should not turn Afghanistan into a battlefield for their rivalries with regional countries. Afghan government has to practically change Afghanistan into a spot for regional and global coordination and cooperation, even between the rival sides.

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