Three years before NATO’s presence in Afghanistan hand over prime responsibility for security to Kabul. In the last year, the 150,000 strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) handed over control in seven relatively peaceful provinces selected by President Hamid Karzai. Along with the domestic security affairs transition to Afghanistan authorities, US also start its troop withdrawal. Up to 2014, without the external support, it is a not certain whether President Hamid Karzai and his government can complete the post-conflict reconstruction under the stable and peaceful circumstance, in this suffered war-torn country. To the worsen, Taliban never unequivocal express its willing to peace, although which open the door of political engagement. We have reason to question the feasibility of reconciliation with Taliban.
Security is the fundamental agenda without which societies cannot prosper. How to keep the stable and peace in Afghan is directly relevant of the Central and Southern Asian situation. It is uncertain that the Afghan army will not be capable of containing an insurgency that is gathering significant strength. With the days coming to the Afghan authorities running the country by the end of 2014, it is critical time for the related international actors rethinking how to facing the various kinds of domestic, potential situation in Afghanistan, including US, EU, NATO, Russia, China and India.
It is well known to stress the geopolitics and security importance of Afghan in the global map. Presently, almost all of security challenge to the international community, such as organized criminal, terrorism, drug-traffic, religion and ethnic conflict, can be tracked the link with Afghan. After 2014, the international community will seemly inevitable to be risked by the civil war and anarchy status in Afghan that endanger the Central and South Asia. With the withdrawal was carried out; it would provide a considerable boost to the insurgency and, ultimately, the defeat of the Karzai regime. The end of 2014 withdrawal must create a military and political vacuum and ultimately make the success of reconstruction less likely. Lack of appropriate understanding, the coalition has to involve in local power struggles, which is the potential flashpoint in the future process of power distribution.
Let us image the dreadful political vision in Afghan: the worsen economy, desperate towards the withdrawal of international commitment in the local population, the collapse of administration and institution, even civil war breaking out … Taliban come into power again. With the revival of Taliban, the Islamic extremists in the Central and South Asia will be boosted. The neighbor, Pakistan and China have to invest more energy into domestic security affairs. Taliban in the north of Pakistan will take risk to challenge Islamabad publicly follow their Afghanistan colleagues. If Pakistan is in breaking-up, the disastrous nuclear proliferation will be inevitable. Among Beijing-Islamabad- New Delhi triangle relations, Pakistan’s fell down means China loose the tool of balance India on the dimension of security and defense strategy. Considering the territory dispute and mistrust between China and India, Beijing and New Delhi are easier to evolve into the security dilemma.
Xinjiang, China shares border with Afghan. The terrorism violence, inspired by separatism and religious extremism, make sufficient trouble to the local government and Beijing. Facing the challenge in the compli4cated civilizational context, Beijing is in the dilemma of keeping the social order and avoiding the criticism on human rights of minor ethnic group. To keep the social order via violence means is the legitimate of modern nation-state. However, China has caution of use force to deal with domestic affairs since the 1989 for the reason of international pressure. It has been regarded as the important task of anti-terrorism that preventing the international link between the local terrorism and separatism in Xinjiang and its external supporter. If Taliban come into power again, China will face more heavy pressure than ever. At that time, the China nonintervention policy towards Afghanistan domestic affairs will be bankrupted.
Do not forget China is the biggest foreign investor in Afghan currently. China had previously won the rights to Afghanistan's most valuable copper deposits in 2007, the Aynak Cooper Mine, located south of Kabul in the Logan Province. December 28, 2011, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) won the 25-year valid contract for the development of oil blocks in the Amu Darya basin, a project expected to earn the war-torn state billions of dollars over two decades. It marks the second major deal for China in Afghanistan after developing the huge Aynak copper mine south of Kabul, which is due to start producing by the end of 2014, nearly the same to NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Without the shield from ISAF, Who can be counted for protect China’s economic presence from risk? Otherwise, China should learn enough lessons from the disjoint of economic interests and diplomatic policy in recent years. Without political risk analysis framework, China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) has been fragile, especially regime change. There is no accurate statistics data on the loss of China’s FDI in Sudan or Libya, however, we can conclude the price is strikingly high, because China firstly mobilize its navy and strategic airlift power to evacuation. It is time for China’s policy-maker to rethinking its diplomatic strategies and policies characterized as economic-centralism. After 2o14, China has no possibility to enjoy economic profit without any cost of security in Afghan. To support a stable administration in Afghan is in the interests of China. Hence, China should on the positive manner to involve Afghan to certain extent in its national interests.
Whether the considerations from economic or security, China should make its comprehensive strategic document towards Afghanistan deal with all kinds practical and potential situation. According to the present and the near future, China should clearly insist on some principles, as following:
Firstly, as China’s typical strategic phrase, ‘Who doesn't study for overall situation is hardly to manage for one aspect; who has no long-term consideration is hardly to organize temporarily’. The discourse of China’s security strategy on Afghan should be under the background of the Central and South Asia region. In the other words, any strategic considerations and moves must be carefully assessed the influences in the Central and South Asia, at the same time, which should be flexible to be adapt the environment change. The durable and stable strategy is the robust proof of China, as a responsible stakeholder. The good public profile in the international affairs is a part, more increasingly part of national interests. As a emerging rising power, China must take its relevant responsibility in the regional and international obligations.
Secondly, China should understand its advantage when it paly role in the Afghanistan domestic affairs. From the 1960s, China established many infrastructure projects that win the favorable impression in local. Facing such important diplomatic heritage, if China neglects to strengthen, it would be exhausted sooner or later. With the developing the local nature, China should positively regulate its action, from respecting local tradition, religions to how to benefit the local. If China’s FDI can be the positive driving agenda into the local social transformation, the political risk can be reduced to some extent. The robust China-Pakistan relation is the strategic resource in Afghan.
Thirdly, China should acknowledge its inexperience to deal with the social power, compared with its capability to deal with governmental partners. The level of socialization will determine the local social cognition on China. When the local society accept China, the negative public opinion is certain of losing market.
Fourthly, China should play its international role to the international commitments to support Kabul. If Afghanistan populations have misinterpretation to be abandoned, it is an opportunity for externalist to get the power. Erasing terrorism should be carried out in the framework of social transformation. EU has abundant experience in the post-conflict reconstruction. Participating in the international cooperation, China can learn the lessons and experiences, building diplomatic wisdom, to be a responsible power.
Finally, in the Central Asia security architecture, NATO’s PfP, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has coexisted almost a decade. China can coordinate those international organizations to form the international security regime again the security challenge.
In conclusion, with NATO’s withdrawal in the end of 2014, the great opportunities and challenges are faced towards China. On challenge, China’s international economic presence and the crisis management will be tested; as far opportunity, China can get to the balance of economic, security , social dimensions in the practice of diplomacy. On the basis of promoting the regional stability and peace, realizing China’s national interests. It is time for China to take its international responsibilities based on the universal values.