US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III had tele conversion with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss regional stability and security on Wednesday. During the conversion, Secretary Austin reaffirmed the importance of the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship and expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s support for Afghanistan Peace Negotiations. Both leaders discussed the US drawdown in Afghanistan. They discussed the importance of regional stability and the desire for the United States and Pakistan to continue working together on shared goals and objectives in the region.
As the time for US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan is looming closer, the apprehensions and fear regarding the situation in the country in post America era are getting deeper among the neighboring countries. The recent call of the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin to COAS was based on similar concerns and future course of action to mitigate any unforeseen situation in the country in post US scenario. While foreseeing the future situation, the defense ministers of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries have held a meeting in Dushanbe to look into ways to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan border.
The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the situation in the country is worsening and potential military threats, in addition to other dangers, require appropriate responses, from the bordering and regional countries. According to experts, there are wide range of potential threats including expansion in militancy, infiltration of terrorists into the neighboring Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and Europe, political instability, and anarchy in case of lack of consensus on future government, increase in cultivation of poppy, drug trafficking and smuggling of weapons etc. Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) fear that after US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, the radical Islamist groups will grab full power there, and Southern CIS regions will probably have to face the threat of aggression, smuggling of opium and heroin into CIS countries is likely to increase many folds.
Similarly, the other two Afghan’s neighbors, Pakistan and Iran also have serious concerns regarding future of Afghanistan. Due to such reasons, Pakistan had always advocated for an orderly withdrawal to avoid any chaos and anarchy in the country. Pakistan is likely to face serious repercussions of any possible disorder in post US Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistan had always maintained that after Afghanistan, Pakistan is the second most victim of Afghan conflict and desire peace and stability in the neighboring country.
However, the international community including neighboring states of Afghanistan had put their best efforts to forge peace in war torn country so far, but they remained failed to end egoistic and self-centered approach of Afghan conflicting parties (Afghan government and the Taliban). It is high time that both sides understand the sensitivity of the situation and forge consensus on future government setup to run the Country’s affairs in a peaceful and coordinated manner. No other County can solve their problem for them.