China, Russia, Pak joining hands on Afghan problem

pakistanChina, Pakistan and Russia are inching closer to form an alliance to stabilize war-torn Afghanistan, where the three countries see the emergence of Islamic State terror group as a common threat, a media report today said.

The strategic calculation is changing after competing for well over two decades. Islamabad and Moscow are all set to become part of a possible alliance in a dramatic turnaround in their otherwise frosty relationship for decades.

What has compelled Pakistan and Russia to join hands is apprehensions that the United States may not be interested in bringing stability to Afghanistan for its own strategic interests. These fears have now opened up the possibility of an alliance between Pakistan, Russia and China in an unprecedented development that will shape the future of this volatile region.

Moscow already hosted two meetings involving Pakistani and Chinese officials to discuss the Afghanistan problem. Another such gathering with a larger audience is scheduled later this month. The objective of these meetings is to evolve a regional consensus for the lingering conflict in Afghanistan.

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The biggest fear among the regional countries, including China and Russia, is the emergence of IS in Afghanistan. There were reports that thousands of fighters were being sent to Afghanistan from Syria, a development, Pakistan, Russia and China believe is aimed at further destabilising the war-torn country.

These countries suspect the US may be using IS as a proxy to further its interests, particularly to counter China and a resurgent Russia.

The development is part of a series of steps taken to open a new chapter in Pakistan-Russia ties that have long been held hostage to the politics of ‘Cold War’ era. The rapprochement began in 2011 when Pakistan decided to broaden its foreign policy options after its ties with the US deteriorated due to a secret raid at Abottabad to kill Osama bin Laden in May that year and later the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in NATO airstrikes along the Afghan border.

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