Photo used for illustrative purpose.
The eight-nation Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan hosted by India and attended by Russia, Iran, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan has issued a communiqué saying that Afghan territory should not be used for “sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist act.”
Ever since the return of the Taliban to power in Kabul, there has been a rising concern in India and the other countries about the threat of radical Islam and terrorism that follows it. At the same time, the eight countries also emphasised the need for unimpeded humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan, and they also demanded that the government in Kabul should include religious and ethnic minorities and women.
Pakistan and China did not attend the meeting. Pakistan expressed the view that the meeting organised by India is a “spoiler” and it is not meant to promote peace.
India has been worried about the increase in infiltration of terrorists, especially into its northern Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir because of the presence of the Taliban in Kabul, though the Taliban representative in Doha had assured the Indian envoy to Qatar that Afghan territory will not be allowed to be used by foreign terrorists to attack India.
The conference was organised by India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and he invited the national security advisers, including those of Pakistan and China, to consider the security implications of the Taliban in power in Kabul. The Afghan representatives were also not invited. The apprehensions about Taliban and the threat to regional security were not exclusively the concern of India.
The national security advisers of the other seven participant countries expressed their own concerns, and this is reflected in the communiqué issued at the end of the conference on Wednesday. It said that the dialogue on Afghanistan has condemned in strongest terms all terrorist activities and reaffirmed firm commitments to combat terrorism.
Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahumudzoda, secretary of Tajikistan security council said, “As we have a long border with Afghanistan, the current situation creates extra risk and possibilities for drug trafficking, terrorism. The situation on Tajik- Afghan borders remain complicated.”
Karim Massimov, chairman of Kazakhstan national security committee said, “With the Taliban movement coming into power the situation inside the country remains complicated. There are many obstacles to form an effective government...”
Though Taliban spokesmen have been assuring time and again that Afghanistan would not be allowed to be used for terrorist activities against other countries, there is trouble for the Taliban at home. There have been bomb explosions and killings by other radical organisations inside the country. It shows that Taliban is not fully in control of the situation in the country, and that becomes a matter of concern for Afghanistan’s northern and western neighbours who met in New Delhi this week.
There is need for cooperation and coordination among the countries neighbouring Afghanistan, but it would be incomplete and even ineffective without the involvement of the Taliban as well as Pakistan and China. Whatever the differences among themselves, the countries around Afghanistan have to work together to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan.
Pakistan argues that India cannot be part of a dialogue on Afghanistan because India does not have a border with Afghanistan. But due to the acute rivalry between India and Pakistan, which has historical roots, India and Pakistan do not see eye-to-eye with each other on many issues, and they also vie with each other for influence in the region. And so it is in Afghanistan as well. Pakistan had succeeded in keeping India out of the security dialogue on Afghanistan. But India took the lead by organising this security conference on Afghanistan.
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