US, Russia, China’s geopolitical game in Afghanistan

Trump weighs lifting Russia sanctions

Russia has significantly registered its re-entry into Afghanistan region when it organised a major regional conference in Moscow where 12 countries including India, China, Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian countries participated for stabilizing Afghanistan. With this geostrategic move, Russia has reclaimed great power status in the world after having played a major role in Syria in 2015.

But US distanced itself from the meeting claiming that the Russia-sponsored initiative was meant only to assert Moscow’s influence in Afghanistan.

US State Department spokesman said “it was unclear to us what the purpose was…It seemed to be a unilateral Russian attempt to assert influence in the region that we felt wasn’t constructive at this time.”
There is an intense competition between  Washington and Moscow  for geopolitical influence in Afghanistan in terms of elimination of ISIS, bring Taliban within the government fold ,to end the production and smuggling of narcotic drugs to the Russian territories.

Instead of announcing, US President Donald Trump directly applied his policy of moderate troop surge and increased military spending in Afghanistan  to end the war. Further US military targeted the ISIS-owned network of caves  and tunnels in Tora Bora  mountains with the GBU-43B mother of all Bombs in Nangahar province in eastern Afghanistan. Then Trump’s NSA H R McMaster assured to provide continued political, economic and military support to the National Unity government of Ashraf Ghani.

Meanwhile,Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan(HIA) leader chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is set to come out of several years of hiding for a political role .He is likely to emerge in eastern Afghanistan, either in Laghman or Nangarhar under a 25-point peace deal with Ghani government.

As Afghan Forces in coordination with US led NATO troops have been engaging in eliminating Taliban commanders and fighters. But Talibans carried out a revengeful strike in a deadliest attack on an Afghan military base in the  country’s 16-year war in which 150 soldiers were killed.

The latest terror attack on the St Petersburg metro has Forced Russian President Vladimir Putin to look into the aspects of terrorists from Central Asian republics as the investigation revealed the prime suspect hailed from Central Asian  country  with possible links to Syrian rebel groups.Daesh has claimed thirteen attacks in Russia  including  in North Caucasus .

Abdul Rashid Dostum who was instrumental in drowning a large group of Talibans contests that a large ethnic group of Uzbeks is being sidelined by the Ghani government. Moreover ,US is concerned over the enhanced role of China  being the economic supporter of Pakistan and Afghanistan  and establishing links between Aksai Chin, Gwadar  and further to Asia, Africa and Europe . While Russia is having defence ties with Pakistan and Afghanistan for negotiating with Taliban .The challenges for US have greatly multiplied  as the changing scenario worldwide require new approaches.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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