Afghanistan its Neighbors the Region and International Relations in the Light of the Need for Diplomatic Solutions

By: Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

The turmoil Afghanistan is in is more than forty years old. There has been war, unrest, war and some more war in this strategically located south-central country in Asia. Wars have been fought throughout human history. These have testified the violent and irresponsible attitude of the human race. Hot wars have tragically cost nations thousands upon thousands of the lives. And on a few instances, humans have paused and pondered if there could be an alternative to the mass killings of the people. On these occasions, some circles have thought of diplomatic solutions instead of wars. This has been not only because humans must show humanity but also because diplomatic solutions could be less expensive. In Afghanistan especially after 2001 when efforts for democratization started in the country and when the issue of regional and world terrorism gained importance among world nations, the governments that were established with the help of international interests led by the United States of America, a rush to expand the country’s military consumed most of the energy to the detriment of a peaceful, well organized effort to bring peace and tranquility to this country. However, the governments that were thus created haphazardly started to become addicted to foreign military and more so to foreign financial help. This cost the world and the friends of Afghanistan hundreds of billions of Dollars for which there is not much to show in the area of physical development or overall transparent and clean introduction of democracy. There are of course dozens of reasons for this failure of both the Afghan governments and international supporters of them. But what I would like to emphasize here is the most important roadblocks to the creation of a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan laid by her neighbors, regional and world powers and international organizations. This clearly points to the weakness of diplomacy played regarding this country both by itself as well as the United States. Let us have a quick look on this issue:

Afghanistan’s Neighbors:

1: Pakistan: Many believe that Pakistan was instrumental in helping Afghanistan fight the Soviet Red Army. But when you look for why did Pakistan get involved in this issue you will find that she did so first and foremost for its own agenda that included its need for a subservient Afghanistan, after it wins its war with the Soviet intruders. This was important to Pakistan because of its profound problems with the neighboring India and its fear that Afghanistan should not take the side of India in the Indo-Pakistan disputes. In addition, the naked invasion of Afghanistan by its northern neighbor namely the Soviet Union attracted both sympathy and all-inclusive assistance to her cause that were delivered through Pakistan which pocketed tremendous amounts of aid as well as military equipment meant for the Afghan nation’s fighters who were busy fighting a superpower of the time. In addition, the longstanding issue of the Pashtun belt around east and south east of Afghanistan was another incentive for Pakistan that was and still is interested in renewing the issue of the Durand Line as a British scheme drawn by the British empire more than one hundred years ago. This in itself is a complex geopolitical issue between the two countries. Further more Pakistan has consistently housed, financed, armed and provided with safe haven the terrorists that commit violence in Afghanistan and retreat into Pakistan. The suicidal attacks in Afghanistan have occurred because the attackers receive training and encouragement in Pakistan. Even today the leadership of Taliban live in Pakistan a fact that the world at large and especially the United States is well aware of.

2. Iran: The western neighbor of Afghanistan under its clerical administration and following its longtime goals of achieving influence in Afghanistan found that she was vulnerable to all sorts of intervention in her affairs specifically religious and cultural. The issues of common history, language and religion have always been used as baits for Iran to gain influence in the strategically important Afghanistan. During the dark years of Russian occupation Iran found it easy to materialize some of its schemes. A weaker neighbor is more prone to tolerating advances by its expansionist neighbor especially when the schemes begin with issues of religion and culture.

3. The Region: India for the reasons explained above regarding its long- lasting serious differences with Pakistan has shown great interest in helping Afghanistan. She believes that friendship between Afghanistan and India will weaken Pakistani efforts to advance its threats of military action against India in Kashmir and Punjab.

Central Asian newly independent countries also aware of Afghanistan’s strategic importance regarding trade, culture and religion and especially fearing expansion of terroristic phenomenon into their countries and the issue of smuggling of narcotics have renewed their interests in Afghanistan Luckily they have not partnered with terroristic activities of violence against Afghanistan. For them a peaceful Afghanistan is essential for advancing their own development programs especially after gaining independence from the yoke of Soviet Union.

Saudi Arabia in its turn sees in Afghanistan the possibility of advancing its Wahhabis’ agenda as well as gaining further recognition in other Islamic countries in helping Afghanistan specially so because of the populous Pakistan that is like India a nuclear power.

4. The United States: Some analysts find themselves surprised at the level and extent of the US involvement in Afghan affairs. Some of the reasons could be explained such as the rivalry between the US and Russia in Afghanistan and the region. Also, the proximity of China and Iran to Afghanistan which is of strategic importance to the US. Other reasons are hard to decipher. One would expect that the US would try to implement programs in Afghanistan that would enhance trust, further cooperation and mutual benefits. But using a US diplomat of Afghan origin to take part in the shaping of a new Afghanistan somehow proved to be detrimental to the above objectives. One would have expected that the US would help bringing about a truly democratic system in Afghanistan that would implement policies boosting human rights and belief in democracy with the consent of the masses and thus increase trust of the people of Afghanistan in the US and boost up the level of respect towards it. However, the US effort achieved the opposite. It ended in getting the US militarily involved and  resulted in paying tremendous price in men and finances to the American tax payers. This was explained in a policy that would uproot terrorism in the region and would contribute to anti-terroristic endeavors of the West. The military entanglement of the US did not result in giving a final blow to terrorism instead, the same diplomat ended up serving the objectives of the terrorists like those of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

5. The European Union and specially NATO’s involvement that followed on the footsteps of the US too failed to help a decisive manner the case of war and terror in Afghanistan.

6. The Arab League and the Islamic Conference: These are two very weak instruments for decisive political action. They are mostly involved in Arab and a few Islamic issues that have had no solution so far.

7. The Non-alignment Movement: This very important movement was truly significant during the cold war years when the world was bi-polar. At present it seems to be just an institution for formality.

Under these circumstances Afghanistan does need a powerful movement in the form of an organized effort representing its people by a representative intelligentsia to come together in the form of a great national movement.

Political objectives of such an organization should be:

1.  Formulating a political platform including its objectives regarding Afghanistan’s relationships with countries and movements abroad

2. The platforms should include:

a: Suggestions for agreements between Afghanistan and each of its neighbors to be agreed upon and signed in the presence of international witnesses and representatives of the United nations.

b: Suggestions and agreements between Afghanistan and the United Nations, on political support to Afghanistan’s legitimate objectives for peace and development as well as regulating her relations with other countries.

c: Suggestions for agreements with the European Union and Afghanistan regarding the Union’s help and support about legitimate objectives of Afghanistan.

d: Working papers of relationship with each of the neighboring states of Afghanistan regarding their verifiable cooperation in non-interference in the affairs of each other and regulating commerce, culture and mutual interests according to well defined objectives and carrying out of annual assessment and evaluation of the above in meetings to be held alternatively in Afghanistan and each one of he said countries. It should also define the benefits of such cooperation to both sides.

e: Creating of a working paper for the best utilization of Afghanistan’s strategic location for development of commercial relations among all countries concerned through and from Afghanistan including safety of highways and extension of railways primarily to expand trade between south-central Asia, the middle east, south-Asia and China and the far east.

Obviously, implementation of the above suggestions requires activation of Afghanistan’s diplomatic institutions in friendly countries as well as its representative ligations to the European Union, NATO and other pertinent organizations.  Assignment of an Envoy at large would facilitate the work of coordination among institutions of interest inside and outside the country.

Afghanistan’s Throne-One Wife Two Husband­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

By: Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

Abstract: A National Unity Government created with the so-called good offices of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry is expected to work in Afghanistan.  It has had many difficulties and flaws so far to succeed. In fact the Afghan throne or the power of government is treated as a lady that is expected to yield to both leaders as her husbands. In Afghanistan-as anywhere else for that purpose,  this polyandry is very hard to work.

Continue reading “Afghanistan’s Throne-One Wife Two Husband­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­”

The Russians are Back in Afghanistan

By Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

Abstract: In the past decade and a half we remained engaged in Afghanistan. What we did not do was a close and realistic observation of our engagement and investment in men and money into that country and the implementation of hundreds of projects carried out haphazardly without coordination or prioritization or making it sure that their results were tangible and goal oriented. Well, it appears that perhaps the Russians have done that evaluation and utilizing their observations are now trying to return to Afghanistan because she is indeed a very important country strategically located in the heart of Asia and is truly located on the crossroads of economic and strategic developments in the region. Continue reading “The Russians are Back in Afghanistan”

From a Distant Past

From a Distant Past

By Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

One night in the distant past

I danced with her

The fine perfume from the back of her earlobes

Was rejuvenating my soul

When her head was on my shoulder

The silken curls of her black hair

Was teasing my hot cheeks

The warmth of closeness to her body

Was warming my heart and my feelings

The well tuned movement of our bodies

Together with the sound of music

Were reminding me of tropical

White sanded calm beaches

And of lands where colorful birds

With green wings and red beaks

From atop of tall trees

Were singing the song of love

And the waves were calmly

Hitting the shore

Many days have gone by since

And many years

And Time has tried

To wash away the colors of that night

From its memory

Or to blur those long gone memories

Time, the enemy of my joyful recollections

But still and often I see a couple of eyes

From which emanate the flames of love

And that in the arms of my imagination

The place of a voluptuous beauty

Is vacant

No, no, it is not vacant

It is filled with love

 

US Aid Money and Afghanistan

by: Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

Abstract: In December 2001, the United States well aware of the fact that the establishment of a democratic system of government in Afghanistan would not come about free of cost, committed itself to providing financial assistance to Afghanistan’s military and economic programs. Thus only in the first nine years the US commitment amounted to about $ 52 billion. (In local Afghan currency this amount is around 2.6 trillion Afghanis.) This paper looks in a quick way at the cost and effect of this input only. Input by countries in the coalition and some of the neighboring ones need another study.

Continue reading “US Aid Money and Afghanistan”

The Breast of the Moon

The Breast of the Moon

By

Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

The milk of light from the Breast of the Moon

Was sprinkling on the meadow

In the mixture of light and shadow

Shrubs of the spring

Filled with blossoms and flowers

Tantalized by the breeze, were shivering slowly

Here and there

Under a tree

On the skirt of the meadow

Beside a flower bush

People were sitting on lawns

And were narrating stories of fragrance and flowers

And secrets and mysteries of the heart

Hearts of the youth were beating loudly

And were excited while lasses, like flowers, were ogling

The flowers were spreading fragrance

And the breeze was carrying their perfume

Through the curly locks of maidens

And spreading it again on the meadow

The youth were at times looking at the flowers

And on others at the shapely locks

And also the beauty of the lasses

At this height the distance

Between the garden and the stars was shorter

And the moon seemed to be so close

That you could kiss her cheek

The sound of music

Was giving voice to the meadow and the garden

Here and there

People were calling the strings

Of their musical instruments

To songs

And were letting the beats of the drum

Tie the songs to the hearts

Otherwise they were

Extracting from the vocal cords

Of their manly and womanly throats

Sounds and melodies in songs

Groups of maidens

Were pointing the young boys to each other

And were boiling with happy laughter

The elderly were looking at the moon

And were letting the memory and the call

Of love shed flowers on their chests

The fountains

In harmony with the sounds of the night

Were spreading water

And their monotonous sounds

Were putting to sleep all fears and worries

And the moon continued to let

Milk exude from its breast

And the stars to look at the people

Drowned in the milk of the moon

So that they would be happy and

Play the games of love.

The Frigid Tale of Truth

The Frigid Tale of Truth

By

Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

The frigid tale of truth

How calm is the snow?

It covers the devastations of the autumn

How beautiful is the color white

How calmly the snow falls

And how calmly it sits on the shoulders of the evergreen

Geometrical crystals

Like diamonds

With innumerable cuts

In innumerable flakes

Sometimes as if they melt of shyness

And the claim of cleanliness and innocence

Of the destiny they wash

With the tear of the orphan

And the cry of the widow

The gazelles are

Shivering from the secrets of this tale

From the eye of the black raven

A tear as big as that of an alligator

Falls down and freezes

A pack of wolves

Howl from the outskirts of the town nearby

And dances on the white snow

Red with blood

 

 

Karzai’s Pre-Lame Duck Attitude

By: Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

Abstract: Afghanistan is an important country, strategically located with huge untapped and priceless resources for an energy and raw materials hungry world. The world needs peace in Afghanistan and Afghanistan needs help. Security situations in Afghanistan have not improved much. Yet Afghanistan needs to stand on her own relying on her own military and security forces after the international and the US forces leave the country at the end of 2014. But it also seems that there are problems at this important phase of the life of Afghanistan when presidential elections are only three months away and the deadline for pulling out of international forces in just one short year approaching. This article looks at some of the problems.

Continue reading “Karzai’s Pre-Lame Duck Attitude”

The Games of Shadows

 
The Game of Shadows

By

Dr. G. Rauf Roashan

Whenever I open my eyes to what’s past

I see myself swimming in the shadows

Shadows dark and black

In creepy narrow passages                                                                      

Shadows small and big

Sometimes blurry sometimes huge

Sometimes the shadow of a body

Standing erect or bowing down

Shadows sometimes fixed

Sometimes shivering and sometimes quiet

Sometimes fallen under my feet on the ground

And sometimes on the wall

Sometimes this way, sometimes that
   
Shadows, sometimes like paintings and prints

Sometimes shapely sometimes like demons

Sometimes in my hands sometimes under my feet

And sometimes in my front and sometimes behind

Sometimes in the shape of my beloved

Lovely and attractive

Sometimes the object between the shadow and light

Sometimes the light behind the object and in the distance

At times admonitory

And at times in conflict with feelings

Sometimes dark like the color of hate

And at others the hated shadow of arrogance

Sometimes the scary shadow of war

And sometimes the shadow of deception and trickery

This one, the shadow of friendship

And the other, the shadow of discord and separation

This one is the shadow of false pride

This other one does not have a shadow it is love and light

Shadows like dark clouds

At times like monsters at winter solstice

And I, busy with the frame of shadows

Busy with dreaming and making of effigies

Now shadows, you tell of your own world

Search for life in your darkness

Of shadows in a silent world

Sometimes evident

Sometimes forgotten

Tell of fear in the darkness

Tell of pain in its width and length

Tell of the many profound sorrows

Tell of the games of this strange world

Tell of the heights

Tell of mourning and of happiness

Tell of your quivering in front of the candle

And of bitter weeping in company

Tell of fears and of the unknown

Tell of reality and of make-believe

Of friendship and animosity

And of keeping away from the light

Of shortness and being long

Of content and of dancing

Of the time that you are asleep or when awake

And of the times that you are blind or with sight

Tell of the mirror

Search my shadow in the mirror

Together with delusions

Like futile love affairs

Leave me alone

Stop hurting me

Shadows sometimes like the passing life

And I, bewildered in your path

At times I am running away from you

And on other times I cling to your skirts

Sometimes I am afraid of you

I am concerned and obsessed

Shadows in my eyes

In my calm and in my wrath

Shadows in the dark

I wish you leave me alone

So under the golden rays of a kind sun

I am enabled to cut my path and traverse

And see the world bright and clean

All the way from heavens to the darkest depths

And see everything from all six dimensions bright

And away from the darkness

And call mankind to the light of love

And lay flowers and colors in front of my soul

And in front of everyone