The geostrategic vulnerability of South Asia is far from being defined. With the mess in Afghanistan yet to be sorted out, peace and development are largely in a state of limbo. The uncertainty that looms large with the proposed departure of United States forces from the war-weary country has kept policy-makers on tenterhooks.
The point is: despite the stationing of coalition forces for more than a decade peace is far from being attained. Moreover, whatever inroads the Western conglomerate had made in rebuilding the country now seems to be fading away with the rise of Pakhtoon militia, which has tilted the power balance, back in favour of conservative elements. Thus what is lacking at the moment is not only peace but the decorum on the political and administrative level to keep Afghanistan free from incursions from a host of thug elements that has filled the void to further their vested designs when the Soviets decamped almost two decades ago. Will the Americans too leave the rugged mountains of Southwest Asia as their erstwhile adversaries did is a question that sends shivers down the spine for neighbours, especially Pakistan, Iran and Central Asian Republics. The rise in the trends of militarism and the weakening of grip over extra-territorial elements on behalf of respective governments is an issue that is quite worrisome.
Afghanistan has had its share of chaos and crisis. Now is the time for some confidence building measures, and that too from the stakeholders who are supposed to be with it in the larger scheme of things. Offshore characters such as Washington and Brussels could well limit their role to nation-building tasks, leaving the grassroots managerial affairs to elements that share the same geography, culture and history. A new dimension of interaction is indispensable. Khaleej Times
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