Narrative update for Afghanistan

President Obama’s visit to China provided the oassion for an overivew of Afghanistan from the perspective of the surrounding countries and the region’s resources. This material (whihc will be incorported into the Afghanistan page in its entirety) is based on an article in the Norwgian newspaper, Klassekampen, on Monday Oct. 16, 2009 written by Yohan Shanmugaratnam.

  • It is expected that Obama will request assistance in the form of economic and logistical aupport as well as infrastructure and training of Afghan security forces in pursual what will be presented as common goals in Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan’s position within the international game is accompanied by the interests of at least six other countries – Pakistan, Russia, India, China, Iran and the West.
  • Neither China nor Russia are interested in a permanent western military presence in the region but both are concerned with maintaining a modicum of stability. China is not only concerned with a possible spread of radical Islamic forces to Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang province but also the security of roads and pipelines which can transport resources to China from the Indian Sea area.
  • China Metallurgical Group Corp. has begun work on a 3 billion dollar project to tap on the world’s largest unexploited copper reserves at Aynak south east of Kabul.  See the New York Times article, an event that has occasioned criticism in Washington regarding the use of American lives to provide business opportunities to Chinese businesses.
  • On the hand some people in China have begun to doubt that the west and the U.S.A. can provide security for their investments in Afghanistan while on the other hand other voices are urging a withdrawal of western forces in Afghanistan because the war has only furthered violence and unstability in the region.
  • Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 India has contributed 1.2 billion aid dollars, making India one of the largest donor nations in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is important for India in order to provide access to the energy rich Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • Pakistan is wary of India’s presence in Afghanistan and Pakistani intelligence is viewed as assisting Taliban attacks on Indian interests in Afghanistan. china too keeps a wary on India’s activities in Afghanistan.

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