Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Regional Interference in Afghanistan and Its Implications for Regional Peace and Security

Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Regional Interference in Afghanistan and Its Implications for Regional Peace and Security

Article excerpt


Afghanistan, a small landlocked country, is vulnerable to interference from regional countries. The saga of external interference in Afghanistan is not a new phenomenon. It is a fact that Afghanistan has been a goat among the buzkshi1 playing regional powers to hold their sway and are not prepared to allow others to gain preponderant influence in Afghanistan. In addition, almost all the neighbours maintain links to non-state actors who are responsible for much of destabilization and debilitating Afghanistan. States in the neighbourhood may well sponsor subverting forces in the event that Kabul governments fail over time to extend their authority and tangibly improve people's lives, or should Afghanistan's international benefactors lose their patience and interest. Undeniably it remained Afghanistan's chronological history that domestic political forces pursue developments in the neighbouring territories and have intermittently sought opportunities to manipulate relationships in the region to achieve domestic benefits. (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2013)

Afghanistan quagmire is complicated by conflicting interests of regional countries. Regional interference in Afghanistan is increasing with the passage of time, which is causing instability in the region as well as hindering the rapprochement process between regional countries. How regional interference has problematized the Afghan situation need to be highlighted for reaching a solution to Afghan dilemma which is complex and multi-layered. Studying regional interference in Afghanistan is significant for managing interstate conflicts and understanding the regional dynamics in a better way. Moreover, the future of the region depends upon stable Afghanistan. Constructive partnership among all Afghan ethnic groups and its neighbours are necessary for stability of the region.

Pakistan, Iran and India are chosen for the study because their role is critical in stabilizing Afghanistan and has direct bearing on the regional stability. China is also an important regional country and Afghanistan's neighbour, but its role is deliberately excluded because of the space limitation as it will broaden the scope of article. In addition, for theoretical purpose different types of interventions are highlighted but the focus of the article is on political interventions by regional countries as it is not possible to discuss in detail all kinds of interventions.

The first section generally highlights different types of interventions for better understanding of the nature of the concept, and helps in distinguishing types of interventions in Afghanistan. It is followed by factors that drove Pakistan's, Iran's and India's interference in Afghanistan and its pitfalls. It also mulls over whether these regional interventions have yielded any results or not. The last section formulates recommendations for ironing Afghan quagmire fuelled by consist interferences. Interference from Pakistan's side is highlighted more because of its centrality to Afghanistan's foreign policy. Moreover, it is Afghanistan immediate neighbour, sharing longest border as well as it is generally believed that among all the regional countries, interference from Pakistan is dominant.

Types of Interference

Interference in the affairs of other countries is not a new phenomenon and has a long history. It is an old and well entrenched tool of foreign policy like war, negotiations and diplomacy. Since the era of Greeks to present day, states consider it beneficial to interfere in the domestic affairs of other states for protecting and promoting their interests. Other countries in the wake of their interests have showed stiff resistance to such interventions and have resorted to "counter interventions" to protect their interests (Morgenthau, 1967).

External interference in the domestic affairs of other countries is a destabilizing factor and as mentioned above is a common practice in international relations. …

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