China, Russia, Pak joining hands on Afghan problem: Report

China, Russia, Pak joining hands on Afghan problem: Report

ISLAMABAD: China, Pakistan and Russia are inching closer to form an alliance to sta­bilise war-torn Afghanistan, where the three countries see the emergence of Islamic State terror group as a common threat, a media re­port on Monday said.
The strategic calculation is changing after competing for well over two decades. Islama­bad and Moscow are all set to become part of a possible alliance in a dramatic turnaround in their otherwise frosty relationship for dec­ades.
What has compelled Pakistan and Russia to join hands is apprehensions that the United States may not be interested in bringing sta­bility to Afghanistan for its own strategic in­terests, The Express Tribune reported.
“These fears have now opened up the possi­bility of an alliance between Pakistan, Russia and China in an unprecedented development that will shape the fu­ture of this volatile re­gion,” according to the report.
It quoted military and Foreign Office sources as saying that the three countries were inching closer to formalising their rela­tionship with an aim to bring regional stability, particularly seeking a political solution to the Afghan war.
The sources said Pa­kistan as well as China and Russia reached a conclusion that the US wanted to prolong the conflict in Afghanistan. This situation, of­ficials pointed out, has left Pakistan with no other option but to seek a regional solution by involving Russia, China and Iran.
Moscow already host­ed two meetings involv­ing Pakistani and Chi­nese officials to discuss the Afghanistan problem. Another such gathering with a larger audience is scheduled later this month. The objective of these meetings is to evolve a regional consen­sus for the lingering con­flict in Afghanistan.
The biggest fear among the regional coun­tries, including China and Russia, is the emergence of IS in Afghani­stan. There were reports that thousands of fighters were being sent to Afghanistan from Syria, a development, Pakistan, Russia and China believe is aimed at further destabilising the war-torn country.
These countries suspect the US may be us­ing IS as a proxy to further its interests, par­ticularly to counter China and a resurgent Russia.
The Afghan problem has brought Pakistan and Russia close in terms of strategic and de­fence cooperation. Last week, the Pakistan army took a high-powered Russian military delegation to the volatile North Waziristan Agency to give them a firsthand account of the country’s anti-terror gains.
The development is part of a series of steps taken to open a new chapter in Pakistan-Rus­sia ties that have long been held hostage to the politics of ‘Cold War’ era.

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