Right now, the Asian continent is burning in the fire of terrorism. It has experienced lots of ups and downs through the history, including the cold war. Still, Asia has to determine its path for the future, where they want to go and how can they achieve that. Asia is a continent that contains some important regions like central Asia and south Asia, the importance of central and southern Asia is crucial for the Asian continent. Central Asia is a vital geostrategic location which is known as a cross and linking road to Europe. Meanwhile, Afghanistan plays a great role and links south and central Asia. For these reasons, Afghanistan and central Asia are important to each other, and share a geostrategic location in Asia. In the current situation, Afghanistan and central Asia are enhancing their political and economic relationships. There is high cooperation in the energy sector between Afghanistan and Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan with Mzaar e Sharif, Tajikistan with Kunduz and Turkmenistan with Herat electricity projects.
Afghanistan is creating a big problem in the way of security and peace for central Asia, these threats are not new to the region, and began with the withdrawal of the Soviet forces, which led to civil war in Afghanistan and perpetually threaten the security of the region. Some of the closest neighbors helped terrorist groups in Afghanistan for their own benefits, which led to no economic relations between Afghanistan and central Asia. Now, it is a well-known fact that the security of central Asia is highly depended on the internal security situations in Afghanistan. In the current situation, there are more new threats facing central Asia like the ISIS terrorist group, which has to be dealt with.
With markets growing and economies rising in the region, it is crucial to find and explore new markets. South Asia is a potential market for regional countries, and Afghanistan plays an important role in linking of the south and central Asia. Afghanistan building good economic relations with the central Asia can benefit India and Pakistan as well.
The importance of Afghanistan in Central Asia
Afghanistan is a country that has a special geographical location between the south Asian countries. It’s a country that has a vital importance in the transit of energies like electricity and gas, and other import and export of goods in the north-south corridor. For this reason, economists described Afghanistan as the gateway to central Asia.
Afghanistan is a country that represents both threat and opportunity to central Asia (CA Stats). Persistent instability can be a vital source of threat to central Asia- from bleeding to extremism, terrorism, organized drug and arm trafficking. At the same time stabilization and reconstruction could lead to an opportunity for cooperation over electricity, gas, roads, pipelines, and hydraulic power transfers. (PRIO PAPER, Afghanistan & Central Asia, P, ix)
Afghanistan was and is always eager to participate in the trade and transit of the regional economy and wants to become a safe CA (central Asia) and SA (south Asia) corridor. Besides that, the world’s biggest powers China and Russia are also interested in the strategies in South-North Asia and want to secure an alternative route for their raw materials and products.
Beside these things the countries of central Asia, Russia, China, and even European countries are worried about the mass presence of the drugs and transits of these drugs to Russia and Europe. So, for the reason, if they want to secure their borders and have a good trade relation with central Asia, they have to develop good relationships with Afghanistan and contribute in the way of peace building in the nation.
India is an emerging and growing economy, it’s in full demand for energy which can be provided through Afghanistan and Pakistan from central Asia so the relationships between these nations are need to be very strong if they want to achieve their future Economical goals. Despite these issues if India and Pakistan and south Asian countries want to find new potential market then central Asia is a crucial fit, and all of these relationships are depended on Afghanistan and its security.
Asian States, and Peace Building in Afghanistan
In the conference which was held in Istanbul under the name of “Security and Economics Connection to improve situations in the region, and heart of Asia “it was mentioned that Afghanistan plays the role of a bridge and land passage in the extension of the regional communication between the countries. They emphasized that the specific geographical location of Afghanistan can be beneficial for the cooperation between the Asian countries specially the producer countries which want to find market share in new markets.
Chabahar port is a substitute of Karachi port for Afghanistan and is cross road for north and south Asia. The countries which are using the crossroad of Chabahar should avoid the useless competition. Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan can use the Chabahar port to reach the water since these countries are landlocked and so the port and usage of it for trade is very beneficial for aforementioned countries.
China’s concerns About Afghanistan,
China is a country that always thinks about new and potential markets and Afghanistan is one for them. They want to develop their relationship with Afghanistan. Right now, China is working and helping Afghanistan in capacity building, educational development, institutional development and business areas.
Before we mentioned that Afghanistan is in transition to be the cross road for the region’s countries, and the Chinese are well aware of this fact. They know that consistent stability in Afghanistan will help them reach central Asia, then onto Europe through Afghanistan. But first, beside them the region’s countries should contribute in the way of peace building in Afghanistan, the infrastructures of roads and linkage between larger cities had been destroyed during the civil wars. The region’s countries can help Afghanistan build an infrastructure, especially transport.
The responsibility of the Afghan government here is to convince the regional countries that their investments will not be wasted- that there will be no corruption and that investment and money will be used sparingly.
India’s concerns about Afghanistan
India is a country that always wanted to be in partnership with Afghanistan not just due to economic factors, but also due to strategic ones. Since India is a growing market, they are very interested in central Asia and Afghanistan. Getting access to central Asia and Afghanistan plays an important role for India, since Pakistan refused to provide land way for transaction in the Wagah port, (Sodhi Page 1).
Chabahar is the only port at the moment that India can use to reach central Asia and Afghanistan can help them reach it very easily and cost effectively. The port is 800km closer than Pakistan’s Karachi port to reach Afghanistan from India. So, for this reason, India can play a major role in the way of peace building in Afghanistan.