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Editorial: Russia in spotlight

Around two months ago, the Russian officials have planned to host trilateral talks on Afghanistan. The invitation was extended only to China and Pakistan. It is very strange that these three important neighboring countries would discuss security situation in Afghanistan but the Afghan officials were not invited to attend the today’s talks (Tuesday). This move of Russia has challenged sovereignty of Afghanistan. Very sadly, Kabul has been too slow to react. The Foreign Ministry has showed its reaction yesterday, though the event was planned several weeks ago. It seems that Beijing and Moscow do not accept—like Islamabad—the democratic Afghan government as true representative of Afghan people. If this was not the case, they would have not established secret contacts with the Taliban and invited Afghan officials to attend the December 27 talks on Afghanistan in Moscow. China and Russia will soon realize their mistake and cover it with a comforting statement that Afghans would not believe.

Establishment of contacts with Taliban and leaving Afghan officials out of the talks prove on which side these two countries are. It became visible during the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar that Russia is sliding towards Pakistan as the Taliban could upset Daesh. Moscow is cashing in Afghan militant groups. Russian and Chinese leadership never welcomed the US presence in Afghanistan. Therefore, they see Afghan war as a golden opportunity to trap the US. Russia is particularly interested in keeping the US busy in Afghanistan to win its strategic game in the Middle East. The events and decisions of these important neighboring countries suggest that they are not interested in peace and stability of Afghanistan. They are chasing their own goals. It is evident from the yesterday meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council which is focusing on improved security on border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

The CSTO is concerned about presence of the Islamic State, aka Daesh, in Afghanistan but the security organization has not provided military and financial support to Kabul. Support of Russia does not matter to Afghans. What they really want is that Moscow should not interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs and learn from its humiliating defeat. The Wolesi Jirga—Lower House of the Parliament—has spoke against the growing interference of Russia in Afghan affairs. No country has the right to see Afghanistan as a ground for proxy wars. If they cannot help Afghans, it is better they leave Afghans alone so they could resolve their own problems without any foreign meddling and influence.

Despite knowing importance of Afghanistan’s geo-strategic importance and the new great game, Afghan policymakers are acting too slow and learning from media. They shall use their own brains. The sense of fear is also preventing them from doing their job on professional lines. They condemn Pakistan and Iran for interference but rarely show reaction to Russia and China. They should react to these two countries the way they treat Islamabad or Tehran because whoever interferes in Afghanistan is not on our side. Afghan leaders should bring adjustment in the foreign policy to defend sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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