Wednesday October 20, 2021

‘Cooperation needed to thwart humanitarian tragedy in Afghanistan’

September 23, 2021

Islamabad : Wang Zhen, Research Professor of International Studies at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, has said that China was actively engaged with the Taliban government for an inclusive political setup in Afghanistan.

Prof Zhen was addressing as a panellist at a webinar on ‘Regional Response to Stability in Afghanistan’ organised here by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).

Prof Zhen said that China’s humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan was continued meanwhile. However, he observed, Beijing’s concerns for inclusive government, respect for human rights especially women and girls, prevention of trans-border terrorism remained there. He dispelled the impression that China’s involvement in the post-US withdrawal was targeted at exploiting Afghanistan's natural resources, adding “China respects Afghanistan’s sovereignty as its policies were strictly based on non-interference principles.”

Dr Vadim Kozyulin, Head, Centre for Global Studies at Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that Russia was in contact with the Taliban even before the US withdrawal and had stable relations with other stakeholders adding that Moscow was also in contact with regional countries since Russia’s interests vis-à-vis Afghanistan were not different from those of China and Central Asian Republics.

He was of the view that regional states had to play a role as US and Western countries were no more interested in Afghanistan.

Dr Salma Malik from DSS Department, QAU, said that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan was serious adding that mass migration amid a rising humanitarian crisis would potentially threaten the security of the entire region. She cautioned that there was a possibility that Afghanistan would become a hub of proxy wars, and for that, Pakistan had to be prepared.

Dr Zahid Shahab Ahmed, Research Fellow at Alfred Deakin Institute, Australia opined that the rise of militancy, mass migration, and drug trafficking were the serious concerns of Central Asian Republics and Russia. He said that the inclusion of Tajiks, Uzbeks, and other groups in political setup remained the priority of Central Asian states and Russia. The potential of multilateral engagements such as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) needed to be fully exploited to address Afghanistan challenges, he stressed.

Dr. Afzal Ashraf, Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, UK, was of the view that democratic values and larger human rights issues were only be cared about when people of Afghanistan were enjoying the right to live with freedom. He urged Iran and Pakistan to work together in transforming the ideology of the Taliban.