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Dushanbe security meeting: what makes the regional countries worry?

Afghan

It was reported that Tajikistan hosted a two-day meeting that was attended by National Security Advisers of Russia, China, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Iran to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan and the region.
The meeting ended yesterday [Friday] that came with a statement, pressing on a terror-free Afghanistan, respecting the human rights and forming an inclusive government by IEA.
These countries have often voiced their concerns over the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan, calling it a threat to Central Asian borders.
However, the Islamic Emirate has reiterated that neither ISIS could threaten Afghanistan nor the Afghan soil would be a threat to any foreign country.
Indeed, the Dushanbe security meeting and the like of which typically serves two important purposes.
Firstly, such meetings happen to communicate to the world that a new camp and/or order is about to be established in the East of the world led by Sino-Russian governments, and backed by some regional countries, aimed at liberating themselves bit by bit from the current world order – led by the US. It’s because Russia and China have realized so far that the United States has been intending to squeeze Russia by elongating the Ukraine war while trying to contain China through security and economic competition across the Indo-Pacific – as Biden stressed the Indo-Pacific framework with his QUAD allies in his recent trip to Japan. Therefore, Russia and China are trying to encourage the Central Asian countries, including India and Iran, to step in and join the new camp.
Secondly, following the takeover of the country by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, it seems that the military and security sectors of most regional countries have turned alerted, mobilizing their special military units across the borders of Afghanistan while also conducting independent and/or joint military maneuvers, time to time, to signal that they are ready to counter any measure if it was to be taken by the Islamic Emirate.
Conversely, one could see that the diplomatic apparatus and senior officials of these countries have regularly expected from the Islamic Emirate to abide by the international norms by acknowledging the counter-terrorism efforts, human rights, inclusive government in order to see a government in Afghanistan that is entirely accountable to the current global values and norms as was the former Republic of Afghanistan, an imposed prescription that didn’t work over the past 20 years.
Alternatively, the story goes a little bit beyond what many would think of.
In fact, the regional countries are extremely concerned of a ‘Central Asian Spring’ similar to that of ‘Arab Spring’ in the region.
That’s why, they are repeatedly trying to seek assurance from the IEA so it wouldn’t harbor any transnational militants in Afghanistan which would, later on, pose a potential threat to regional countries.
Given that the political structure of the regional countries is based on secular and/or republic values, completely alien to an Islamic one, they feel concerned that someday a group of fundamentalist Muslims might either march from outside and/or show up from inside to challenge the current system of governance, threatening their decades-long political dominance.
Hence, they even consider any incident as an onset for removal of their power, the way Kazakhstan suppressed the demonstrators in 2021 serves as a good example of how these countries are afraid of an upheaval in the region. In conclusion, the regional countries are really concerned of the situation in Afghanistan because they feel that perhaps some elements of other Islamic movements would cross the borders someday and launch an attack over the neighboring countries.
However, Russian and China are using these platforms for their own advantage. Besides, the regional countries have been repeatedly stressing, at all regional conferences and summits, that only a stable and accountable Afghanistan will secure the shared interests of the regional countries. Hence, they have been regularly calling on the IEA to form an inclusive government, respect the human rights and counter the militant groups in order to protect their borders and avert any move that poses a threat to regional countries.

By: Saleem Kakar

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The Kabul Times.