News / Asia

Afghanistan's Neighbors Prepare For Post-2014

Sharon Behn
In the coming year, Afghanistan will continue to prepare to take over its security as international combat troops work to complete their pullout, set for 2014. As this happens, China, Iran and Pakistan are increasingly focused on the future of their war-torn neighbor.
 
The Afghan army has been preparing to take over the country’s security as NATO’s 2014 deadline to withdraw all combat troops moves a year closer.
 
But even with 300,000 national security forces now hired, Afghanistan still faces a challenge from the Taliban, al-Qaida and Haqqani networks.
 
Political analyst Imtiaz Gul says Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Pakistan, have launched efforts to create a level of political stability there in the face of shared threats. “I think Pakistan, as well as several other countries, have changed the goal posts, have changed the outlook on Afghanistan," he said. "And they realize they really need to get on board, join hands to fix the situation in Afghanistan as much as possible to avoid instability in their own territory.”
 
Over the past year, Afghanistan’s allies met in Chicago and elsewhere to pledge at least four billion dollars in aid and lay out a vision of the country through the next decade.
 
But the outgoing U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, told VOA pledges are just one step. “It only matters if people are meeting their commitments now and we can really support an Afghanistan - secure, stable, prosperous - inside a secure, stable prosperous region,” he said.
 
Investor countries like China could exert more diplomatic weight and economic influence in the region as the U.S. pulls out.
 
Analyst Andrew Smalls of the German Marshall Fund told VOA in Beijing that China's friendly relations with Pakistan are key. “One reason why the Afghans were particularly keen to have the Chinese come in and be investors, is that they are one of the only countries that Pakistan trusts.  So what it means in practice is a lot of the different parties, including the Taliban, may be more willing to give Chinese projects a break than most other investors in the country," Smalls stated. "And also, of course, that China may be willing to use its influence over Pakistan, and then Pakistan’s influence over the Taliban, to give those projects a break that other investments in the country may not have.”
 
Iran, to the west of Afghanistan, has already cultivated strong cultural and commercial ties with its neighbor.
 
What Iran does with that influence is critical, according to former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth.
 
“But the question is whether or not Iran can become a part of a group of countries, a regional approach that will work to prevent Afghanistan sliding back to the Taliban era and moving forward to a more democratic progressive approach toward the country and its relations with its neighbors,” Inderfurth added.
 
How Afghanistan, its neighbors and allies cooperate on all these issues will help determine the future of that country.
 

Shannon van Sant in China and Aru Pande in Washington also contributed to this report.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shalin from: New York
December 24, 2012 2:17 AM
No mention of India's role?
This demonstrates and inadequate understanding of the situation by the authors.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs