Following the US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, a window of opportunity appears to have opened for a myriad of state actors to intervene in the Afghan Peace Process in the past several months. This part of the article critically evaluates the role of Afghanistan’s immediate eastern and western neighbours, i.e., Pakistan and Iran in the Afghan peace process and its implications. It also accounts for India’s geopolitical manoeuvring amidst the peace process and rising US–Iran trade deal tensions.
Afghan Slicing: Role of External Actors
Following the US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, a window of opportunity appears to have opened for a myriad of state actors to intervene in the Afghan Peace Process in the past several months. For China, Afghanistan lies at the heart of the ancient maritime silk route, and any insecurity in the region will impede its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its expanding economic footprint in the region through mineral investment and ownership of mines further incentivise the prioritisation of its diplomacy for shielding its economic and security interests.
Similarly, Russia had pre-emptively sought to establish itself as a peace broker alongside advancing security assurances from the Taliban against the Chechen separatists in the Central Asian region succeeding the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. Here, it is essential to note that contrary to Russia’s previous engagements with the Taliban, the former took a contrarian approach in its policy towards the Taliban, the descendants of the Mujahideen who fought the 1979 Soviet invasion.
Mehar is Research Intern at CPPR-Centre for Strategic Studies. Views expressed by the author is personal and need not reflect or represent the views of Centre for Public Policy Research