All major regional players and global powers are struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of the withdrawal of NATO-led Western military forces from Afghanistan. Regional cooperation has been declared as the only viable alternative to the tensions that have plagued Afghanistan for decades.
Various South and Central Asian governments have underscored that they recognise that Afghanistan’s problems of terrorism, narcotics trafficking and corruption affect them all; and that these have to be addressed through cooperative efforts. In November 2011, they adopted the Istanbul Protocol that committed countries as diverse as China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Russia to cooperate in countering terrorism, drug trafficking and insurgency in Afghanistan and its neighbouring areas.
However, practical difficulties in implementing the vision of regional cooperation remain stark, as regional power struggles remain potent. While Turkey made a public effort to mediate differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Central Asian states worry that extremist groups based in Pakistan and Afghanistan will infiltrate Central Asia and launch terrorist attacks.
Iran opposes any long-term American presence in Afghanistan, while Russia wants to ensure that Afghanistan does not become the source of Islamist instability. China wants to preserve its growing economic profile in Afghanistan, but is not interested in making any significant political investment; India, for its part, shares common interests with the regional states with respect to Afghanistan.
The first book to examine the impact of Western withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the interests and policies of major regional players, Afghanistan’s Regional Dilemmas: South Asia and Beyond will be indispensible for students and scholars of international relations, strategic studies, peace and conflict studies.
Harsh V. Pant
THE SOUTH ASIAN CONUNDRUM
2. Pakistan’s Choices in Afghanistan: Old Habits, New Consequences
3. India’s Difficult Transition in Afghanistan: From the Centre to the Periphery
4. Afghanistan’s India–Pakistan Dilemma: A Balancing Act?
BEYOND SOUTH ASIA
5. China in Afghanistan Beyond 2014: A Growing Imprint
6. Russia and Afghanistan: The Long Shadow of History
7. Iran in Afghanistan: Rejecting Foreign Presence
8. Central Asia and Afghanistan: Partners in Security and Economic Development
Notes on the Editor and Contributors