News / Asia

Concluding 2012, Afghanistan's Neighbors Gird for 2014

Afghanistan's Neighbors Gird for 2014i
X
December 20, 2012
As Kabul prepares to take over its security as international combat troops work to complete their pullout, China, Iran and Pakistan are increasingly focused on the future of their war-torn neighbor

As Kabul prepares to take over its security ahead of international combat troops pullout, China, Iran and Pakistan focused on regional relations.

TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
— The Afghan army has been preparing to take over the country’s security as NATO’s 2014 deadline to withdraw all combat troops moves to within a year.
 
But even with 300,000 national security forces now hired, Afghanistan still faces a challenge from the Taliban, al-Qaida and Haqqani networks.
 
According to political analyst Imtiaz Gul, 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. "They realize they really need to get on board [and] 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 $4 billion in aid and lay out a vision for what the country might aim to achieve in the coming decade.
 
But the outgoing U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, says pledges are just one step.
 
“It only matters if people are meeting their commitments now and we can really support an Afghanistan that is secure, stable and 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 says 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," said Smalls. "So what it means, in practice, is that a lot of the different parties, including the Taliban, may be more willing to give Chinese projects a break than most other investors.
 
"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," he added.
 
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.
 
“The question is whether or not Iran can become a part of a group of countries, [part of] a regional approach that will work to prevent Afghanistan [from] sliding back to the Taliban era and moving forward to a more democratic progressive approach toward [domestic governance and] relations with its neighbors," he said.
 
How Afghanistan, its neighbors and allies cooperate on all these issues will help determine the future of that country.
 
VOA correspondents Shannon van Sant  and Aru Pande contributed to this report from China and Washington respectively.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid