AFGHANISTAN: ITS ROLE AND PLACE IN THE INTERNATIONAL SECURITY SYSTEM
Shaislam Akmalov, Ph.D. (Political Science), deputy rector at Tashkent Islamic University (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
For three decades now the country has been struggling for survival amid a never-ending armed conflict that makes a concerted foreign policy course impossible. This is fraught with a loss of statehood and is responsible for Afghanistan’s role and place in the international relations system.
Afghanistan and International Security
The military-political crisis in Afghanistan is echoing across Central and Southern Asia and is spreading its negative impact even further across the world.
Farkhad Tolipov, a political analyst from Uzbekistan, has rightly noted that strategic “friction” in Afghanistan is closely connected with the geopolitical reversal occurring in the Central Asian states. He has written that “friction” makes it much harder to pursue strategic and tactical aims and that, if they are achieved at all, the cost will be enormous. The Afghan crisis is largely responsible for the geopolitical instability in Central Asia, which affects its security.
The foreign policy activities of the Central Asian states and the world community as a whole have to take the Afghan factor into account. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov has written: “The deepness and acuteness of the Afghan crisis and its obvious impact on the geopolitical processes at the regional and global levels allow us to describe this tragedy as the largest and the most dangerous regional conflict of our time. The military-political crisis in Afghanistan is inevitably affecting regional stability in Central Asia and Uzbekistan’s national security, in particular, in the most negative way.”
The military-political developments in Afghanistan have deprived the Great Game term of its initial meaning. In the 19th-the beginning of the 20th century, it was the British-Russian struggle; today the number of players has multiplied, while the threats the game produces affect the entire globe. “The game has become too deadly and has attracted too many players; it now resembles less a chess match than the Afghan game of buzkashi, with Afghanistan playing the role of the goat carcass fought over by innumerable teams. Washington must seize the opportunity now to replace this Great Game with a new grand bargain for the region.”
What is going on in Afghanistan has already proven beyond a doubt that at the present stage of globalization no armed conflict of any noticeable duration in any state will remain limited to its borders. For several reasons, it will inevitably spread to create, sooner or later, numerous problems for its neighbors and destabilize the region. In these conditions, the attempts to set up and strengthen central power can hardly be consistent and systematic, while state-building efforts are limited both geographically and conceptually.
The above fully applies to Afghanistan: it is an object rather than a subject of world politics even though the world community has accepted it as an independent state with a seat in the U.N. and several other international structures. In other words, today the country is at best an eyewitness or a victim (to a great extent) rather than an active player on the world political scene. Indeed, the..................