The United States under President Donald Trump has snubbed a Russian invitation to attend its initiative on Afghanistan on 14 April 2017. This development has taken place as Afghanistan is emerging as a new theatre of Russian-American power rivalry with Moscow’s return to the conflict-ridden country after an aloofness of almost three decades. Buoyed by its strategic incursion in Crimea and the success of its military diplomacy in Syria, Russia is now overtly asserting itself in Afghanistan.
Taking advantage of the geopolitical opening created by an uncertain US foreign policy and the drawdown of Western forces from Afghanistan in 2014, Moscow is trying to outflank Washington in Afghanistan. This marks a significant shift in Moscow’s traditional Afghan policy of neutrality.
… Abdul Basit is an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. An earlier version appeared in The News.
Last updated on 20/04/2017