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The Killid Group

Meddlesome neighbours

Written by Mohammad Reza Gulkohi
Saturday, 21 January 2012 11:30

Meddlesome neighbours Interference by regional neighbours is a major cause of instability for landlocked Afghanistan, say experts.
On the cross-roads of Asia, Afghanistan has been a bone of contention for global super powers and neighbours in the region. The intense rivalry has led to conflict, halted development and lead to economic stagnation.
Shahmahmood Miakhyl, director of the US Institute of Peace, identifies Afghanistan's regional neighbours as the main cause of insecurity. "There are three main factors for war in Afghanistan - dissatisfaction of people with the government, presence of foreign troops and interference of neighbours," Miakhyl said in an interview.
Iran and Pakistan, which are Afghanistan's two biggest neighbours, have as a result exerted a strong influence - both directly and indirectly through their agents - on government's in Kabul. As a result Pakistani, Tajikistani and Uzbekistani Taleban who claim they are waging a 'jihad' on international forces, particularly the US, have taken advantage of the unstable political situation to add to the insecurity in the country.
Abdul Naser Noorzad, writer and political analyst, assesses the role of Pakistan as "destructive". Interference has sabotaged the peace process, he claims.
"Pakistan's role has been destructive and meddlesome regarding events related to Afghanistan," he says.
Political observer, Din Mohammad Jawed, believes Pakistan-based Taleban have formed a coalition to create unrest in Afghanistan. The little known Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Almi claimed responsibility for attacks on Dec. 6, 2011. Afghan Taleban were quick to deny any involvement in the sectarian attack which is unusual in Afghanistan.

Jittery about the future
"Without doubt Pakistan and its intelligence have a role in mimicking the Taleban and its leaders," Jawed says. He ascribes the bold strikes on Kabul last year to a jittery Pakistani establishment, which concerned about the eventual withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan and the subsequent loss of Washington's dependence on Kabul, has been adding to instability through attacks by Pakistani Taleban. "Pakistan has shown that it can create uproar and insecurity in Afghanistan through (clandestinely) organising Pakistan Taleban," he says.
The strains in Pakistan-US relations following a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Nov. 26, have halted the transportation of cargo meant for NATO and ISAF troops from Pakistani ports. According to media reports, around 2,000 containers are stacked at Qasim and 1,700 containers and as many US military vehicles at Kemari, both Karachi ports.

Afghan traders hit
Tawfeeq Dawari in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says Afghan traders have run up a loss of an estimated one million dollars so far as a result of the closure of the Afghan-Pakistan border. Pakistan authorities have stopped Afghan trucks thinking they are contracted by international forces in the country, according to Afghan officials in Association of Afghan Industries.
Even without the problems created by tension on the border, Afghanistan has a hard time finding markets because of competition from its neighbours, officials complain.
Abdul Jabar Safi, director of the Association of Afghan Industries, says the government can protect domestic industry with policies that encourage growth and by raising customs tariffs to discourage cheap imports.

Oil blockade
Like Pakistan, Iran too has been a strong influence on domestic industry. Much of Afghanistan's oil supplies come through Iranian ports. Despite an agreement to sell one million tonnes of oil and the establishment of a joint transportation company, some 200 oil tankers were stopped at the Iran border and prevented from entering Afghanistan in December 2010. Iranian authorities claimed the delivery of oil mainly from the UAE, Iraq and Turkey, through Iran was illegal.
As the rift in Iran's relations with the West, particularly the US and Britain, widens, the government in Kabul has been under pressure from pro-Iran members of Parliament not to give in on the proposed strategic treaty with the US, according to Mohammad Nayeem Lali Hameedzai, the head of Internal Security of Parliament.
"Some Afghans have put on a ring of slavery to implement the programmes of Pakistan and Iran," he claims. "The two countries have influence in three areas - legislation, executive and judiciary, but we don't have witnesses to prove who has been given money inside parliament. But there are rumours that Iran is working on some of the important senators and representatives," he asserts.

Pointing fingers
The Washington Post has quoted Fawzia Koofi, MP, saying that Iran has been able to  influence government departments, and is trying to sabotage the signing of a US-Afghan treaty that will decide relations between the two countries after the US withdrawal in end 2014.
The US newspaper has also quoted Shukria Barakzai, another MP, saying Iran has influence in academic circles and debates.
Abdul Ghafoor Ghaznawi, a political observer, quotes a poem on neighbours by Kazem Kazemi:
'Dear good neighbours we will respect your hand/ leave us with your angriness.'

Comments (1)

  • Wednesday, 16 May 2012 09:57 | aahmed41
    آقای داوودزی که در سال ۲۰۰۵ سفیر افغانستان در تهران بود، می‌گوید تجربه برقراری روابط مستقل را در تهران موفقانه اجرا کرد. او می‌گوید: "من به همکاران ایرانی گفتم که می‌دانیم آمریکا دشمن شما است. اما آمریکا دوست ما است. باید روابط خود را طوری تنظیم کنیم که این (نوع رابطه افغانستان و ایران با آمریکا) بر حال ما و شما تاثیر نگذارد-."

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