Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 43 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/17/18

Afghanistan takes center stage in the New Great Game

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   No comments
Message Pepe Escobar
Become a Fan
  (189 fans)

From Asia Times

Moscow hosted talks last week to promote peace in Afghanistan as neighbors and regional heavyweights eye the rewards of stability in the long-troubled land

Sergey Lavrov's Remarks at Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan
Sergey Lavrov's Remarks at Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan
(Image by YouTube, Channel: The Kremlin Stories)
  Details   DMCA

In the "graveyard of empires," Afghanistan never ceases to deliver geopolitical and historical twists. Last week in Moscow, another crucial chapter in this epic story was written when Russia pledged to use its diplomatic muscle to spur peace efforts in the war-torn country.

Flanked by Afghan representatives and their Taliban rivals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked about "working together with Afghanistan's regional partners and friends who have gathered at this table."

"I am counting on you holding a serious and constructive conversation that will justify the hopes of the Afghan people," he said.

Back in the 1980s, Soviet Union president Zbigniew Brzezinski launched a disastrous war in the country. Thirty years later, Russia is now taking the lead role of mediator in this 21st-century version of the Great Game.

The line-up in Moscow was diverse.

Four members of the High Peace Council, which is responsible for attempting a dialogue with the Taliban, took part in the talks. Yet the Afghan foreign ministry went the extra mile to stress that the council does not represent the Afghan government.

Kabul and former Northern Alliance members, who form a sort of "protective" circle around President Ashraf Ghani, in fact refuse any dialogue with the Taliban, who were their mortal enemies up to 2001.

The Taliban for their part sent a delegation of five, although spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid was adamant there wouldn't be "any sort of negotiations" with Kabul. This was "about finding a peaceful solution to the issue of Afghanistan."

Diplomats in Pakistan confirm the Taliban will only negotiate on substantial matters after a deal is reached with the United States on a timetable for complete withdrawal.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed this was the first time a Taliban delegation had attended such a high-level international meeting. The fact that the Taliban is classified by Moscow as a "terrorist organization" makes it even more stunning.

Moscow also invited China, Pakistan, India, Iran, the five Central Asian "stans" and the US. Washington sent just a diplomat from the American Embassy in Moscow, as an observer. The new US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, widely known in the recent past as "Bush's Afghan," has not exactly made much progress in his meetings with Taliban officials in Qatar in the past few months.

India -- not exactly keen on a Pakistan-encouraged "Afghan-led peace" process -- sent an envoy at a "non-official level" and received a dressing down from Lavrov, along the lines of "Don't moan, be constructive."

Still, this was just the beginning. There will be a follow-up -- although no date has been set.

Enduring so much freedom

Since the US bombing campaign and invasion of what was then Taliban-controlled Afghanistan 17 years ago, peace has proved elusive. The Taliban still has a major presence in the country and is essentially on a roll.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

News 3   Must Read 2   Well Said 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Pepe Escobar Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

You Want War? Russia is Ready for War

Why Putin is driving Washington nuts

All aboard the New Silk Road(s)

Why Qatar wants to invade Syria

It was Putin's missile?

Where is Prince Bandar?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend