Why Russia and China Are Expanding Their Roles in Afghanistan

Sep 5, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

Pakistan strongly influences the shape of the conflict in Afghanistan, and China and Russia are becoming more involved there.

Aerial picture of an Afghani landscape taken on September 26, 2012. The French unit form Bitche (Moselle) will spend a week disassembling weapons, cleaning tanks and preparing their departure for France. The withdrawal of French combat troops from Afghanistan will happen "a bit more quickly than anticipated" and could be completed before the end of December, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Oct. 20, 2012. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD



  • The shared threat of an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan will drive Pakistan and Russia into a closer partnership as Moscow strengthens its leverage over the Afghan negotiations.
  • Pakistan's national security imperatives mean it will always choose to promote a sympathetic government in Kabul, even if this choice means relations with the United States deteriorate.
  • China's expanding diplomatic and economic profile make it likely that Beijing will establish a limited and localized military presence in Afghanistan.

As the great powers deepen their presence in South Asia, all eyes are on Afghanistan. A year has passed since U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his Afghan war strategy in August 2017, seeking to break the stalemate in America's longest-running conflict. But the Taliban's sustained assault on the city of Ghazni demonstrates that the addition of a few thousand U.S. troops under operations Resolute Support and Freedom's Sentinel has failed to decisively swing the pendulum in Kabul's favor....

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