Inclusive Government and Economic Development in Afghanistan Imperative for Regional Security and Peace
By Meng Fanrong
A webinar on Afghanistan - Post-Taliban challenges for the region organized by Devcom Pakistan and DTN was held on Saturday. Panelists from Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran have opined that a rationally inclusive government in Kabul will lead to peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. All neighbors of Afghanistan including Pakistan, Iran, and Central Asian countries are active partners of China in BRI and taking several initiatives in health care, infrastructure development, industrial cooperation, and maritime sector.
The panelists also pointed out that Afghanistan lies at a strategic location like Pakistan and can use it for attracting investment and bringing development through the Afghan-led government. Pakistan can help build the capacity of its brothers and sisters in Afghanistan in managing development initiatives.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said on the occasion that the abrupt change of Afghanistan's situation is a major shift in the regional balance of power. The first challenge is preventing any kind of a new civil war in Afghanistan which can be achieved through the inclusive and broad-based government of consensus, including figures from previous regimes, Northern Alliance, and others. Afghanistan's territory should not be used for any kind of cross-border terrorism against its neighbors.
"A broad consensus in the region is that a way forward has to be regional connectivity to bring in Afghanistan into the regional economic framework such as BRI." Senator Mushahid further explained that "countries in the region, especially in Pakistan, are hoping that Afghanistan stabilizes so that the linkage of Central Asia with southern Asia and Southwest Asia will be further strengthened."
Lt. General Retd Muhammad Asad Durrani said that the Taliban this time has shown maturity and he believed the consensus of the Afghan tribes would play a significant role for the country's future.
"Peace in Afghanistan can be achieved through development and BRI can be an instrument for that. Like Pakistan, Afghanistan can leverage its natural endowment to attract investment in the mining, energy, and agriculture sector. China has been engaged in facilitating regional integration through BRI and supporting infrastructure development including hospitals, roads, bridges, and railways." Mr. Hassan Duad Butt, CEO, KP-BoIT stated.
Professor Dr. Ahmet Uysal, Director of Middle Eastern Studies Center in Ankara, said the main losers in Afghanistan are the USA in particular and the NATO countries while the West overall. If the Taliban in Afghanistan are committed to creating peace, he termed Pakistan, China, and Russia as winners, and Turkey and Iran to some extent. Director South Asian Studies at TISRI Ms. Somaye Morovati underlined that prospects of Afghanistan remain uncertain. The neighboring countries shall find a way for coordinating closely to facilitate a smooth transition in Afghanistan for regional stability.