The Afghans are hungry and blistered for peace, whether it is from foe or friends, we have no choice but to appreciate any peace initiatives. Therefore, Moscow reconciliation talks on Afghanistan in early September will be appreciated, Taliban has confirmed their participation we hope the Afghan Government also show their independence and leadership by participation and not following the United States (US). For the past 4 decades, Afghanistan made so many toxic and situational friends, that it is crucial to save Afghanistan from its friends rather than enemies. Therefore, it is important to analyze the new Russian initiatives.
Questions are, these Russian initiatives are too late for Moscow to be active against the western expedition in Afghanistan, or in the aftermath of 1979 Soviet invasion, are too early for opening a new channel of relation with Afghans. Unfortunately, both are true. The initiatives are too late because under the nose of Russia, China and India, United States and NATO built several military bases in pretext of war on terrorism, sacrificing Afghanistan for their regional geopolitics and imposed decades prolonged war in Afghanistan thus affecting the regional progress.
They are too early as well, because present Russian moves of supporting insurgency can be considered as Mr. Vladimir Putin following the footsteps of Mr. Yuri Andropov, who took the Soviet Union into Afghanistan in 1979 on the pretext of supporting a failing regime in Kabul. Since then, Russian-Afghan relations are problematic, there is hardly any Afghan family that did not suffer from that war. The Afghan generation that suffered from the Russian invasion of 1979 is presently ruling Afghanistan and will do so for the coming decade. Even today many Afghans consider western invasion as result of that invasion.
Unfortunately, the west is following the same mistake of imposing war on Afghans on the pretext of terrorism for 18 years and recently using UN agencies specially UNAMA for a new propaganda the rebirth of Al Qaida in Afghanistan. Russia must know that any wrong move will make the US presence prolonged and legitimate in Afghanistan, which will affect central Asian States and Russian relations created under the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Russia may have gained respect from the double standards of west in Syria. But Afghanistan is not Syria nor CIS, in Syria operations are very tiny and are not geopolitically strategic as they are in Afghanistan. Therefore, the alliances created against Russia in Syria are weak. Afghanistan was and will be difficult for any invader to be successful. Where Andropov failed, the success of Putin will need to devote considerable resources, which Russia may not afford at this time, but there is a win-win solution for Russia and Afghanistan, that is instead of supporting insurgency and old rivalries, Moscow must increase support for a sovereign Afghanistan, ruled by the majority with a legitimate natural government in result of a free and fair election, an Afghanistan without any foreign military presence. This will keep the relation between Russia and CIS countries intact and will prevent a chaos reaching their borders from CIS countries.
Today it is widely believed that Russia is having or establishing relation with the Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan. Taliban has two options, to continue insurgency under the national cause of a free Afghanistan without any foreign boots or sacrifice for a political surrender following the footstep of radical Islamic party of Mr. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who made a U-turn compromising on more than 5 decades of struggle. Taliban are far more politically puny and unexperienced movement compared to the Islamic party of Hekmatyar. Today, Taliban is another plagiarist term taking credit of nationalistic and philanthropist forces against the United Nations imposed illegal western presence in Afghanistan. This philanthropist resistance is active within freedom loving members of Afghan government, their opponents i.e. Taliban and Afghan society at large because of the hypocritical nature of decades-imposed war and western double standards.
The local, regional and international welcoming momentum for United States and NATO intervention in Afghanistan was a golden opportunity for the west to prove they are trust worthy partners and not revenge-taking savages for the failures of the old British Empire, everyone perceived the west as a rebuilding and peace force, but that motion was soon ruined by the US and NATO missions in Afghanistan which resulted in an unjust, corrupt and incapable governance, that increased support for the militancy and destruction of Afghanistan costing millions of lives and continue. As a result, today, US and NATO forces are limited to air travels and bombing from Air, once upon a time the Russians were in the same situation during their invasion of 1979. Currently all western diplomats are travelling by helicopters between their embassies and the Kabul airport for a distance around 3 Km. Watching Afghanistan where western block propagated rebuilding, bringing peace and eradicating narcotics, CIS countries saw activities with opposite outcomes which resulted in a U-turn of these countries to Moscow, that move started the closure of U.S. military installation in Kyrgyzstan called US Transit Center at Manas Airport. The base was opened in December 2001 to support international efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. On 3 June 2014, US troops vacated the base because of local and civilian’s opposition, dumping rumors and a dispute on annual rent, Kyrgyzstan demanding $200 million where US paid only $60 million. Also, Russia and China wanted closure of the base after 2005 that saw rebirth of Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan under the nose of US and Allies.
Additionally, what is dragging Russia to Afghanistan? First, preventing ISIS and other similar chaos in Central Asia that can easily spill to Russia. There are lobbies, part to the western invasion of Afghanistan, who are actively pursuing the Palestine and Lebanon state model to be applied in Central Asia for an infinite upheaval in the region. Under this doctrine, the majority Pashtuns areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan should become 2nd Palestine and a new state created as Lebanon (in fact, presently Kabul government is run in Lebanese style) governed by ethno-economics and ethno-religious conflicts. In this doctrine, another Israel is active in the form of Pakistani army and intelligence, dehumanizing, economically crippling and killing Pashtuns on both sides of the Duran Line. This evil strategy is of a revenge taking lobby comprised of Anglo-Americans, architected long ago but was at its full swing in 2003-2007, at the time a British citizen Michael Semple was expelled on the grounds of contact with and or rebirth of the insurgents and Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad was US ambassador in Kabul. Subsequently, the creation of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan was the outcome of this lobby.
Now the creation of 2nd Palestine from Pashtun lands became evident and worrisome when the US, Taliban, and Afghan government talked about handing over a part of the war-ravaged Afghanistan’s territories to Taliban. Even some media outlets reported that the Afghan Army was asked by their US counterparts to leave certain areas for insurgents to capture. Another indication is the rumors of US bringing back Khalilzad, as the US special envoy for Afghanistan, he as an aide to President George W. Bush, helped plan the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, if compared Khalilzad, can be found repeating the history of Mr. Philip Charles Habib of Lebanon, whose local skill and knowledge were used for policies shaping the Palestine suffering in middle east. If 2nd Palestine lobby is successful in Central Asia by handing over Pashtun lands to Taliban, this will perfectly but sadly make more than 70% of Afghanistan ungovernable and a no-go zone under the Taliban rule, where an apartheid of Pashtuns is ongoing on under the name of war on terrorism for 18 years, now on pretend of peace building efforts 2nd Palestine in Central Asia will be created.
Secondly, TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline is one of the conflict between the West, Arabs, Russia and China. West want the natural gas and oil of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to reach the Indian Ocean, but this will hurt the Arab interests in Asia and Russian interests in CIS. TAPI will create a new chapter in socioeconomic and geopolitical shift of relation between CIS countries and South Asian countries that worries Russia. Until 1991 the countries of Central Asia were members of the Soviet Union, and they were controlled by Russia, today they are under the Russian umbrella of the CIS. Therefore, Putin’s eyes are on the oil reserves of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and the natural gas reserves of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan as well as the benefits of CIS.
Third, India will get access to low cost energy and that worries China, this dilemma will affect Russia-China relations. Because of sharing long borders, the relations between China and Russia are problematic, another problem between Russia and China is India. India and Russia have special relations, and both are major rivals for China. When Soviet invaded Afghanistan in 1979, backing the pro-Soviet communist government, and the then communist China, supported the Afghan resistance, just because Russia enjoyed good relations with India. Initiatives like TAPI will prove beneficial for Russia, Stans countries and India in coming years politically, strategically and economically against the rising China.
Due to the strategic location of Afghanistan and resilience of their freedom loving people, no matter which alien force gain access to Afghanistan, it will be temporary. Because first, it will be met by the resilience of the Afghan people. Secondly, it was proved difficult over and over again that foreign powers reaching Kabul, sooner than later will be in conflict with interest of other regional powers. Therefore, they had no choice but to help their old Afghan enemy against the new threat, by having relation with Taliban. Russia is, without a doubt, repeating the same historic mistakes done by others.
Why has Afghanistan remained the same over the centuries, because invaders made it difficult for the philanthropist to take care and make the country stand on her own feet. There was a little gap between one invader falling while the other embarking. There was no or little chance for Afghans to create a system based on geopolitics of balancing powers. Afghans were left with no or little choice and due to the invaders insincerity and destruction, Afghans were left with nothing or very little to lose from standing against them that forced the Afghans with no choice but fight to their very last breath, which brought miseries to the invaders and Afghans several times.
Due to multiple regional rivals the invaders also had no or little time, therefore trying to maximally benefit from the opportunity and sparing no time to install their puppets who also try to take maximum advantage of the situation on the expense of justice and provision of basic services for the Afghans. In such environment, injustice is prevailed, and it became a national cause for Afghans to stand up against the invaders.
The world but India, China and Russia can greatly benefit from a sovereign Afghanistan ruled by the majority and rights for the minority principles, with a strong government acceptable to most of the Afghans. For peace in Afghanistan the following challenges that are explained in my open letter & recommendations to the International Muslim Scholars Conference On Peace And Stability In Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, are addressed:
1. The presence of the NATO and United States bases in Afghanistan and
their legality needs a solution.
2. How to make sure the West’s imposed and unjust, corrupt government
delivers justice and good governance to the Afghans?
3. Afghanistan's paid and all-volunteer military which Afghanistan
cannot afford and is a burden on the Afghan nation needs a solution.
4. How to form an acceptable government in result of a free and fair
election that can deliver justice?
For full details see article: Noor Rahman Liwal’s Open Letter & Recommendations To The International Muslim Scholars Conference On Peace And Stability In Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia.
Noor Rahman Liwal
An Afghan Philanthropist, Entrepreneur, Computer Programmer, Owner of Multi-National Companies and Pashto TV, Afghanistan Presidential Nominee 2014. Worked with Afghan Mujahideen & Afghan Interim Government of Mujahideen, United Nations Agencies, NGO and business in Afghanistan and Pashtunkhwa.