The New Big Four
Afghanistan will become a serious challenge in the years to come. However, if approached with a serious commitment, Iran, China, India and Pakistan could serve as parts of a viable stabilizing force.
Shifting political paradigms in Afghanistan could signal a reshuffling of policies
As US troops in Afghanistan begin their pullout drill, countries in the region are lining up to fill the impending vacuum. Notwithstanding oft-repeated concerns for stability and security, a power struggle is gaining momentum. As in any foreign policy decision making, national interest will be the most crucial factor impacting the Afghanistan agenda of regional powers. Since falling-out with the US, President Hamid Karzai too has been fanatically looking out to make new friends. It is a growing realisation in Kabul that long-term ben-
By Sunny Peter efits for Afghanistan can only be accrued through a regional mechanism. Apart from ensuring that he retains power amid widespread allegations of corruption and nepotism, President Karzai has worked on a three-fold agenda: protect Afghanistan’s territorial integrity, pursue peace with the Taliban, and leverage the country’s natural resources to achieve economic development.
However, by a strange coincidence of history, Afghanistan’s destiny is in a complex bind, severely impacted by regional power dynamics. If security and stability are a prerequisite for peace and economic development, ensuring it in the Af-Pak region is a key national interest for all regional actors. Ironically, much of the region’s contradictions arise from this commonality in objective. A key challenge that Afghanistan faces is to find a regional mechanism that will enable it to stave off over-dependence on the west. President Karzai travels from capital to capital, meeting heads of states soliciting a common ground to delineate the future of Afghanistan. An effort to achieve this objective among