Outsiders to solve Afghan issue

The Turkish-Afghan-Pakistani summit dedicated to the Afghan crisis after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan has ended in Ankara.

The meeting was held with the theme of “Sustainable Peace in the Heart of Asia”. It is quite understandable the determination of the countries in the region to help to establish peace in Afghanistan because Afghanistan is located at a place where three important strategic regions, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia meet. The security in the Asia depends on whether stability will be restored in the country.

However, the composition of the summit raises more questions than answers concerning the prospects for settling the situation in Afghanistan, says expert at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Boris Volkhonsky.

“Let’s start from the fact that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has long become an absolutely helpless puppet in the hands of American patrons, and he has no any real power in the country. Presidential elections will be held in Afghanistan in April, and the only thing can be said about their results is that after the elections Karzai will have to step down since his term ends this year. The rest is shrouded in mystery. It is unclear whether the elections will be free and fair, the armed opposition will recognize the outcome of the election and a new wave of violence will spread across the country after the elections,” Volkhonsky said.

Another question is why it was a tri-lateral summit. A key player in the region and an important neighbour of Afghanistan, Iran was not represented in the summit. This shows the one-sided approach of its organizers.

Turkey has long claimed for the leadership in the Islamic world and consequently, the venue of the summit is quite logical. When you glance at how Turkey tries to establish its role as leader, we have to admit that its choice of allies and methods in its foreign policy often lead to the destabilization of the situation rather than normalization. This has been clearly displayed in Syria where Ankara has resorted to the most radical groups and made a great contribution to the escalation of the civil war in the country, says Volkhonsky.

“Take for example Pakistan. The country has long had strong levers for exerting pressure on the situation in Afghanistan. Consequently, it is impossible to solve the Afghan crisis without the involvement of Pakistan. However, we have to take into account the fact that a wave of terrorism has hit Pakistan too. In fact, this is largely caused by the unstable situation in Afghanistan. Although the Pakistani government has started negotiations with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, its outcome is not clear yet. If it fails to reach an agreement, the Pakistani authorities will hardly have resources to effectively involve in the affairs of the neighbouring country,” Volkhonsky said 

However, the main thing is not the fact, that each participant of the summit has limited resources. The root of the problem is that over 12-year NATO operation in Afghanistan has turned the country into a centre of terrorism and the drug production. After creating chaos and ruining the country, NATO forces will leave Afghanistan in several months. Meanwhile, its neighbours will have to tackle the problems, but they have definitely limited resources. In these circumstances, there are faint hopes for coping with the situation and achieving lasting peace in the heart of Asia.

NATO Turkey Afghanistan