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Geopolitics surrounding Afghanistan

Pakistan is the proud recipient of $62 billions of investment under CPEC, though its flagship port of Gwadar under CPEC has so far remained stagnant, notwithstanding the high expectation.
Ezaz Ahmed Oryo
Geopolitics surrounding Afghanistan

Islam makes the best soldiers. The USA spent two decades and nearly $83 billions for the development of Afghanistan's defence sector, and all it could achieve is a house of cards that fell even before the complete US withdrawal later in this month.

The ultimate sacrifice of thousands of US and allied soldiers over the years would now mean nothing. Afghanistan once again has became what it was before the 'heroic' invasion; rigid, unwelcoming and aggressive.

Hardly surprising, ISIS defeated 250,000 strong regular Iraqi army with only 7,000 militants, who came out of nowhere. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, one of the greatest generals of early Islam, had defeated two superpowers of the ancient world simultaneously, both Eastern Roman and Persian empires with a new and much inferior force in terms of numbers and equipments analogously. Though strength isn't really synonymous to righteousness and winning merely is a milestone rather than an elephant's graveyard. Accomplishment isn't about whom you defeat but what you deliver by contrast.

Seventy-seven percent of the population speaks Dari or Farsi language in Afghanistan. Hence although there are around 50 different languages spoken by the Afghans, Dari remains the lingua franca. Contrarily around 40% of Afghans have Pashto as their first language. Thus the background story of the Afghan crisis is the conflict of interest between Tajik, Hazara, Aimaq and other ethnic groups versus the Pashtu political ambition. Taliban, which primarily arose from the eastern and southern part of Afghanistan, is basically a Pashtun war machine that wants to subdue other ethnic groups and is heavily supported by Pakistani mullah-military nexus.

Twenty years ago there was only the religio-ethnic zeal, when the United States of America, then the only superpower of a unipolar world, attacked and ousted Mohammed Omar led the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Things may have changed since then, most important one being the growing Chinese influence on global scale, both in economic and military terms. That came along with OBOR initiative, an estimated $8 trillion dollar global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government. The world hasn’t seen or heard anything like this before. After decades of economic sanctions, Iran now can expect to attract $400 billions of Chinese investment in infrastructure and can seriously raise the stakes in the Middle East.

Pakistan is the proud recipient of $62 billions of investment under CPEC, though its flagship port of Gwadar under CPEC has so far remained stagnant, notwithstanding the high expectation. And Pakistani domestic businesses might have incurred serious damages due to the concessions enjoyed by Chinese companies. And many fear the same fate for Gwadar as it was suffered by neighbouring Hambanthota.

But in spite of all apparent gloominess, Pakistan is not Sri Lanka or Djibouti. Its economic potential lies with its strategic location and the geopolitical importance of the region. CPEC is the only way out for this heavily indebted country for its development and future economic progress. But this multi-billion dollar project can never attain its optimal goal without an Afghan corridor and access to the Central Asian market. Afghanistan is the last piece of key for China’s overland connectivity to the Middle Eastern energy and maritime Silk Road.

Despite all economic possibilities and strategic advantage that this small nation can offer, especially by putting stronger Chinese hold at India’s backyard, the Ashraf Ghani led government remained mostly reluctant. Now with the fall of the US backed government in Kabul, Beijing would be much obliged to have an ally at the border of its turbulent Xinjiang region, where suppression of Uyghur Muslims has drawn international attention of late. The Taliban, however, have assured not to interfere with China’s 'internal issues,' a tone which enthusiasts of neighbouring Pakistan's prime minister would find a bit familiar.

The writer is a contributor.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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