China, Afghanistan and Intelligence Chief diplomacy
SUDDEN fall of Kabul has changed the basic concept of “Integrated Security System (ISS)” and “reliability” of CIA and Pentagon secret surveillance and reports.
Taliban shocked many so-called regional security experts as well as rattled many important capitals of the world.
Ultimately, it created extra-ordinary geo-political and geo-strategic situation in the region which required extraordinary initiatives. Thus the innovative idea of Intelligence Chief Diplomacy (ICD) did emerge.
Before the announcement of the Taliban’s interim government, China adopted numerous innovative but integrated efforts to reach-out to Taliban, a new political reality.
It arranged the First Neighbouring Countries Conference (FNCC) on Afghanistan for the future roadmap about regional peace, stability and security.
State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi while attending the First Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Afghan issue among the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan in Beijing via video link, mocked the US irresponsible policies in the region, especially in Afghanistan which achieved nothing but devastating destruction and debris.
He urged all the regional/neighbouring countries to establish close liaison and coordination with Taliban.
Wang Yi proposed a roadmap for a new inclusive interim-government of Taliban consisting of all ethnic groups and factions, persuasion of flexible and holistic domestic and foreign policies, zero tolerance against terrorist forces and develop friendly relations with other countries, especially neighbouring countries.
He indicated two most important points of extensive tolerance and resolute crackdown on terrorism.
He hoped that Taliban can learn from historical experience, actively interact with all ethnic groups and factions in Afghanistan during their rule and earnestly fulfil their commitments to strive for international recognition.
He highlighted his country’s six multifaceted policies about Afghanistan starting from helping Afghanistan strengthen pandemic prevention and control for which China has decided to donate 3 million vaccine doses to the Afghan people in the first batch.
The resumption of China-Afghanistan freight trains, promotion of greater regional connectivity, socio-economic integration, business friendly environment, custom incentives and capacity building measures with Afghanistan and facilitate Afghanistan’s interaction with the outside world, especially its access to humanitarian supplies would be great help for the new Afghan interim government.
Strengthening the management and control of refugees and migrants should be initiated and coordinated as soon as possible. In this regard, China has decided to urgently provide food, material for winter, COVID-19 vaccines and medicines worth 200 million Yuan.
China desired to deepening cooperation on the counter-terrorism and security fronts. Changes in the situation in Afghanistan have complicated the landscape of international and regional fight against terrorism.
Last but not the least China carries out cooperation in drug control for which Taliban has recently announced that Afghanistan would not be a country of cultivation of opium anymore, which we should encourage and support.
Wang Yi labelled the foreign ministers’ meeting as the first attempt by Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries to work closely in response to the evolving situation in the country.
He upheld it significant for the establishment of a coordination and cooperation mechanism of its neighbouring countries which is both timely and necessary.
However, the announcement of the so-called inclusive government of Taliban disappointed many regional countries including die-hard supporters – Pakistan, China, Qatar and even Iran.
It had no “uniqueness” in terms of any woman appointment and inclusiveness in terms of inclusion of other important factions other than Taliban. Thus it was so-called inclusive within the “clan” of Taliban.
Even the visit of DG ISI Lt General Faiz Hameed to Kabul was not taken as an “appropriate” step in the international media.
Furthermore, the visits of the Russian intelligence chief and MI-6 head to India alarmed the neighbouring countries.
To rectify the emerging concerns of neighbouring countries in terms of terrorism, increasing infiltration in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran etc.,
secret activities of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in the Xinjiang region in China’s Far West, increase in suicidal activities against China in Pakistan and last but not the least emergence of new great game the unusual and innovative meeting of intelligence chiefs from key regional countries China, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan was hosted at Islamabad.
According to different media reports (September 12, 2021), the meeting of the Intelligence Chiefs (ICs) mainly focused on the ongoing security situation in Afghanistan and how to ensure regional peace and stability of this geopolitically significant region.
It is hoped that the ICs must have thoroughly discussed numerous important issues including regional stance of the “recognition” of Taliban which is now a new political reality in Afghanistan and they should use holistic approach to include other factions in the interim government.
During the first ever meeting of regional ICs the genuine concerns of regional countries regarding sustainable security, human & drugs trafficking, crucial issue of human migration/ influx of expected refugees, fears of Taliban’s martial influence and outreach to neighbouring countries and alleged secret alliance or strategic compromise with ISIS and Al-Qaeda must have been debated.
In this regard, regional countries must cooperate and facilitate the Taliban interim government.
Issues of economic and humanitarian assistance to the people and government of Taliban must also be tabled and evenly debated.
The meeting of regional ICs must have discussed to establish a close liaison and meaningful engagement with Taliban interim step-up for ensuring peace within Afghanistan.
Being a prominent geopolitical regional expert, this scribe suggests that all regional countries should maintain a close engagement and cooperation with Taliban in which rigorous economic and humanitarian assistance diplomacy may play a decisive role in the days to come.
The government and Foreign Office of Pakistan should not follow a hasty policy towards Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conditional pardon even if they promise not to get involved in terrorist activities and submit to the Pakistani Constitution.
It is a very risky affair which needs a thorough deliberation among the main stakeholders within the country.
The policy makers and establishment of Pakistan should be vigilant to counter an expected series of terrorist activities in Pakistan, especially against Chinese interests.
India has been a spoiler for regional peace and it has already developed a back-channel engagement with Taliban which should be closely monitored.
—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics Member Board of Experts, CGSS.