Afghan conflict solution vital for Asian security

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New Delhi, Feb 14 : The growth of extremism in different countries of the Asian continent has been a cause of concern. This was evident at the recently held Tenth Asian Security Conference here.

The instability in Afghanistan is a living example of the emerging security risk, which was debated by security analysts, scholars and diplomats at the conference.

At a special session, which discussed the situation in Afghanistan, analysts, in their research papers, debated Afghanistan's history, rising insurgency, Taliban, governance, drug problem, the role of US and NATO forces in the reconstruction and much more.

Professor Ali Ahmad Jalali, a former Interior Minister of Afghanistan, was concerned that many independent but interlinked actors are challenging the Afghan Government and its international allies.

"Taliban and other insurgents have safe heaven in Pakistan. The entrenchment of extremist forces - al-Qaeda in the tribal areas of Pakistan --actually created a new source of threat not only to Afghanistan but the whole region. Therefore security is a major concern in Afghanistan. To address this, I think, we need unified strategy by the international community" Prof Jalali said. Afghanistan's major concern is the revitalized Taliban-led insurgency with its stronghold in the southern parts bordering Pakistan.

Reports suggest that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), still has links with the rebels who are creating havoc.

Professor Rasul Baksh Rais of Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan said, "Today, people are fighting in Afghanistan for different reasons; some for Islam, some for ethnicity and some for nationalism and some for being more sovereign than they seemed they are."

Dwelling on developments since 9/11 and the deployment of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Professor Rasul Baksh Rais said that things were not going very well for the coalition forces in Afghanistan, as they have wrong allies.

"American forces have been relying on warlords," Professor Rasul Baksh Rais said.

Over 40,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan have failed to provide security cover to Afghans.

There is apprehension that many member-nations pulling are likely to pull out their troops.

"The key problem is the role of international forces which are insufficient in numbers especially in the south. US is trying to increase its number of forces in the south with marine contingent that is now going to Kandhar. But the Germans, and the Swiss are not providing forces for the South. That is the biggest problem with NATO," said Professor Seth Jones, a political scientist at Rand Corporation, USA.

Many participants spoke of the achievements of the Government of Afghanistan. The war-torn country has been able to rebuild its state institutions. Afghanistan has adopted a modern constitution, created national security institutions, improved women's rights and expanded its educational facilities.

Since 1999, when the conference was first held, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) has become an important forum for debating issues relating to Asian security.

ANI

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