Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Time to Debunk the Neighbors’ Perceptions

Afghanistan is connected with intrusive neighbors. Since these neighbors have been ruled either by military or ideology, they have been following their interests in Afghanistan which is ethnically cleaved and divided. Over the last decades, the country has not been able to debunk the neighbors' attempts and their perceptions of our country and they have been successful in pursuing their interests in a weak and destabilized Afghanistan.

Over the last ten years since the fall of Taliban in late 2001, by the dint of the US-led international community intervention, Afghanistan was provided with a unique opportunity to emerge out of this situation and democratize itself by managing its internal issues and building strategic partnerships with regional and international powers.

The opportunity, unfortunately, has been squandered to a great extent and now it is the last chance for the country to really begin to address some of the issues and strengthen its relations with regional and international allies on a permanent basis.

A stable Afghanistan without sharp and serious internal conflict and with strategic partnership with regional and international powers will lead to change in the neighbors' postures towards the country and they will be forced to be less intrusive and more respectful in their actions and interactions with Afghanistan.

While steps taken by Afghanistan to enter into long-term strategic partnerships with regional and international actors may lead to new or further regional polarization, it will help Afghanistan, at least, not to be hoodwinked with idealistic terms such as good neighborhood and brotherly relations.

Afghanistan has been begging the neighbors a lot but mainly on idealistic terms but the neighbors were either in illusion of strategic miscalculation or had just contemptuous approach to us. It is clear cut that both strengths and weaknesses bring about security dilemma but it has to be mentioned that the past weakness has led to balancing power to the disadvantage of Afghanistan and it remained isolated.

It is time now to try the strength by building National Security Forces, managing the internal conflicts and building strategic partnerships even if it increases the room for the so-called spiral model in our relations with the neighbors.

Afghanistan has already signed a strategic agreement with India and it is in negotiation with NATO, EU, Britain and the US to have one with them as well. On Monday, October 17, 2011, a NATO official, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, said that NATO would provide 145 multi-type airplanes and 21 helicopters to Afghan National Security Force (ANSF).

Addressing a press conference in Kabul, the commander of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) said the coalition would procure an additional 100 aircraft for the Afghan Air Force, which already had over 50 planes.

Afghan government must make the most of NATO presence and permanent strategic agreements may ensure that the country will get training and equipments to achieve the strength required to at least upset the current power balance and change the perceptions.