Afghanistan seems and even needs to learn how to rationally pursue and ensure its national interests in its relations and interactions with other countries of the world. Since Afghanistan is a poor country and remains vulnerable to foreign interference, its multi-faceted national interests lie in long-term strategic partnership with multi-faceted powers to ensure its security, economic growth and cultural development.
That is what "affairs require." In pursuit of national interests both in military, economic and cultural areas, our decision-makers must stop thinking based on what the neighbors or others want and begin to think based on what our country's affairs require.
Afghanistan has signed a strategic agreement with India based on the requirement of the affairs. On Thursday, October 27, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton told a congressional committee that 90 percent of the text of Strategic Partnership between Afghanistan and the US has been agreed upon.
In her testimony before the committee, Clinton informed congress people of three round of discussions the US has had with Afghan government so far about the strategic agreement, saying, "These discussions resulted in a text that is about 90 percent agreed to, including strong commitments on economic/social development, democratic institution-building, human rights, anti-corruption, and other important long-term reforms." What is important is an advocacy campaign among Afghan people and politicians.
It is hoped the people and political actors come to understand the necessity of moving the country forward through ensuring the continuation of economic development, reconstruction efforts and build-up of our national security forces to defend the system and country against both internal and external threats.
Unfortunately, there have been some elements that have been leading attempts to prevent from any strategic agreement with those powers that have helped Afghanistan over the last ten years both militarily and politically. Their sole argument is that it causes sensitivity of the neighbors or they sometimes ground their opposition to long-term partnership on religious sentimentalisms.
It should be made clear to these elements that it is time for the neighbors to begin to recognize our independent right to enter into strategic relations with those military and economic powers that can help our country continue its course of democratic consolidation and economic and political development.
But unfortunately their concerns come from the fact that these types of strategic partnerships will lead to curtailing their continued destructive interferences in our country's internal affairs. Otherwise they must be happy with any agreements that could lead to a secure and stable Afghanistan as long as it is not used against them.
Afghan government has already felt this responsibility and has assured the neighbors that its soil will not be used against any other country in the neighborhood or region. Not trusting Afghan government or in order to continue their interferences, the neighbors are exploiting some elements inside our country to launch negative propaganda under the pretext of neighborly relations or religious sentimentalisms.
With regard to religious issue, it should be mentioned that during the Taliban regime when there was no foreign presence religion was harmed more than any other time in Afghan history because the regime presented a blurred image of Islam both in theory and practice by imposing the harshest version.
There are other Islamic countries that are better-off than our country. They pursue their common interests with different powers. But they do not feel Islam being threatened in their countries rather they even claim to be leaders in Islamic world. Added to this, they never consider the interests of their Muslim neighbors in pursuit of their national interests through partnerships and cooperation with military and economic powers.