New Afghan President Wants Closer Relationship with Asia

With the prospect of a decline in US influence in the region in, Russia and China are reaching out to Afghanistan.

INDONESIA

Jumat, 07 Nov 2014 17:09 WIB

Author

Ghayor Waziri

New Afghan President Wants Closer Relationship with Asia

Afghan, President Ashraf Ghani, Asia, Pakistan, Ghayor Waziri

The new Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has visited China and Saudi Arabia in his first one and half month in office.

He has promised to bring peace and prosperity to the war-torn country and believes engaging with Asia is key to achieving this.

He told Ghayor Waziri this during an exclusive interview .


“The situation has changed, we must and will engage with Asia. This is our region of the world and without engaging with our Asian neighbors we will not be able to get our people out of poverty. The Arab Islamic world is also a centre of wealth today and we want to attract their investment and we share a common problem of Islamic radicalization. This is a threat to all our us.

President Ghani faces tough economic challenges.  He needs to reconstruct his country's battered infrastructure and reduce their dependence on foreign aid and the illegal drugs trade.

With this in mind he made his second trip as President to China.

“Asia is changing rapidly and in the next 25 years it will become a significant economic power house region.  This change is an opportunity for Afghanistan. We have mineral wealth, water sources and a key geographical location. Indeed it is a big chance for our country.”

China is already a key player in Afghanistan, with oil and copper mining contracts worth billions of dollars.

But progress on the copper mining project has stalled because of continuing instability.

“The regional situation is very interesting, China, Turkey, India, Russia and Arab counties they are have the same opinion with America, they need stability in Afghanistan.”

In Beijing President Ghani said his country viewed China as a strategic partner, in the short term, medium term, long term and very long term.

With the prospect of a decline in US influence in the region in, Russia and China are reaching out to Afghanistan.

They want improve economic ties and to secure their southern borders against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism.

President Ghani may also be keen to to use Beijings influence with long-term ally Pakistan to help Kabul to tackle the insurgency.

The Afghan-Pakistani ties have been fragile for many years, with both countries accusing each other of supporting Islamist extremists.

“Regional problems need a new lookout. Pakistan political circles should understand that insurgency and conflict put both country in danger, without stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan can’t be stable. One of the key ministries that I want to reform and make profession is the foreign ministry. With reforms the Afghan diplomatic staff will be able to represent the Afghan people and particularly look after Afghan migrants in other countries.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaking with Asia Calling correspondent Ghayor Waziri in Kabul.


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