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China, Iran and Russia come together to fight Taliban

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    China, Iran and Russia come together to fight Taliban

    Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan will visit Iran next week to discuss strengthening ties between the two countries. The meeting fits into a larger context of a sudden swell of diplomatic exchanges among Iran, China and Russia. Although in the long run there is potential for tension among the three, in the short-term they can benefit from cooperation on a single issue Afghanistan.

    All three countries have an interest in fostering peace in Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban and the Northern Alliance continue their decade-long war for power.

    Peace in this part of the world could help temper militant Sunni Muslim fundamentalism, which has plagued Russia in Chechnya and China in Xinjiang and threatens Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan. But such a peace requires the cooperation of Pakistan, which provides the Taliban with arms, money and general support. Islamabad will not abandon its interests in Afghanistan unless, perhaps, it has China to guarantee them.

    Russian, Chinese and Iranian officials are all interested in stopping the flow of extremism from Afghanistan. The spread of Muslim fundamentalism harms China and Russia directly, and Iran indirectly. Moscow and Beijing want to stop Afghan freedom fighters from fueling their own Muslim insurgencies. Just days ago, ITAR-Tass reported the expected arrival in Chechnya of some 70 militants, most of whom were trained in Afghanistan.

    The Iranian government is concerned with the welfare and influence of Shiites in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. As well, it is threatened by its next-door neighbor's militant regime. Iranian officials would like Afghanistan to function as a buffer zone between it and Pakistan. As long as the Islamabad-backed Taliban remains internationally isolated and extreme, it's not much of a cushion.

    To the governments of China, Russia and Iran, ending the war appears the most effective method of curbing Muslim extremism. Currently, the Taliban sits isolated from the international community, which refuses to recognize the government's legitimacy. As a result, the government has no incentive to control its fundamentalist fighters or moderate the calls for jihad that propel rebels to aid insurgencies in Russia's Chechen province and China's Xinjiang.

    Peace could provide the Taliban incentive by legitimizing their rule. Afghanistan might find a reason to curb its fanaticism if offered the chance to normalize relations with the world. And, Osama bin Laden, who now resides in Afghanistan, would be a far less attractive houseguest if international support were forthcoming. More generally, peace would encourage the Taliban to deter its fundamentalists from taking militancy outside Afghan borders.

    Yet peace in Afghanistan requires the help of Pakistan, the regime's major benefactor. In this, China can be particularly helpful. Beijing has long allied with Islamabad in order to counter rival India. Given this role, the Chinese government can give Pakistan the necessary assurance that Russia and Iran won't exploit peace in Afghanistan to take power. At the same time, it can pressure Pakistan to downgrade support for the Taliban, or at least to help encourage peace.

    Iran and China appear to be making progress. In recent months, the Pakistani government has made attempts to subdue the Taliban and work toward peace. It has toyed with Afghanistan's food supply, met with Iran, offered to help the West retrieve bin Laden, and even recommended that the Taliban open dialogue with the Northern Alliance.

    #2
    Paki help to taliban will continue, whatever pressures may emerge, chinese or whatever. Power sharing and concepts like that are alien to Taliban. And if Pak ditches Taliban, they will pay back heavily.

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      #3
      It is satisfying to see that three great Asian powers - China, India and Russia are so terrified of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. By creating and maintaining the Taliban for the last six years Pakistan has undoubtedly faced a lot of pressure form the rest of the world - but it also shows that Pakistan has become a true regional power.

      The Taliban should offer to give up the non-Pakhtoon areas of Northern Afghanistan which are in the hands of the opposition to the neighbouring countries - Tajikstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan ( these ares are inhabited by Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmens, and hence it would make sense to get rid of them).

      Then the rest of (Taliban ruled) Afghanistan should confederate with Pakistan, and create an Islamic Superstate strectching from Karachi to Kabul. This would make Pakistan the dominant power in Central and West Asia.

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        #4
        Malik,

        Great dream you have there. USA will give you all the support you need to make pakistan a prosperous nation .

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