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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Economic future of Afghanistan: Linked with CPEC, Pakistan and the region

Mir Mohammad Ali Khan, a geo-strategic analyst argues that with the US exit from Afghanistan this region is now ready to emerge as a powerful economic block consisting of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia with huge challenges for the US and Indian strategy.

Afghanistan was taken over by The Mujahideen. Not a single bullet fired. No civil war. No resistance. No forceful closure of girls’ schools. No oppression of women and minorities. No attacks on any diplomats or embassies. No hostages were taken and no wrath unleashed. And all of the above is not good. Not good for America and its allies that is. America did not foresee a peaceful transition. India over calculated its covert operations abilities. NATO thought the Mujahideen are like The TTP. You see, America has historically needed an imaginary enemy since 1958.

From the war of the Koreas to JFK’s Cuba to McCarthy’s communism to Carters’ Iran to Bush’s Iraq to Raegan’s Soviet Union to the Columbians, the Sandinistas, the Libyans to the Afghanis and recently the Chinese. America cannot survive without a perceived enemy. Economic and otherwise. Never in the past 70 odd years has it not been involved in a military conflict somewhere in the world. Because it helps its Military-Industrial complex, creates revenues, increases local GDP and the government ends up collecting 34%+ corporate taxes.

Read more: The world must help Afghanistan make the right choices before its too late

What it spends to create a war comes back full circle to benefit itself, the citizens of America, the corporate lobby, the Pentagon and its image of being MIGHTIER THAN THOU. And do not forget the expansion of its military bases, 120+ in 80 countries around the world. The top 14 American defense and related corporations during the Afghan war alone gained over $1.8 trillion in value of its shares.

Understanding the Indian Connection

Let’s start from the point that a stable Pakistan is not in favor of India. Let’s take a step further by saying that an economically strong Pakistan is death to the Indian designs. And for these two reasons alone India infiltrated Afghanistan. A country shares no history with, no border with, no culture with and no economic ties with. Almost 2 dozen Consulates, 1000’s in staff and an unaccounted for in numbers espionage team. With a single goal in mind: destabilize Pakistan with terrorism hence resulting in an unstable Pakistan economically.

This was the mantra that the India-Afghanistan nexus was built upon in the Ghani regime. Ghani helped India by bending over backward. India had a goal of destabilizing Pakistan and the Ghani regime was the facilitator. These Indian designs started to fall apart when Iran cut its ties in a much unexpected mover a year ago. You see, Iranians are smart. They followed the smell of money and that smell was stronger coming from China than India. China promised and inked an agreement to invest $620 billion through its Belt And Road Initiative BRI, the parent project handling CPEC, in Iran and Iran immediately changed its tune.

The flute played Chinese tunes instead of Indian RAAG. Good for Pakistan and one thing let me add here is that nothing in the intelligence world is an accident. This was the preamble to the Mujahideen taking over Afghanistan within the next 14 months. And history proved it. Iran knew it, China facilitated it and Pakistan…well let’s leave what Pakistan “might” have done.

Read more: US VP Harris vows ‘enduring engagement’ with Afghanistan on top priority

If you think that entire Afghanistan fell to the Mujahideen as an accident, well you need to read the world history of preparations and infiltrations. When the Afghan Army was put together by the Americans, and they spent $103 billion dollars raising this useless Army, 11 years of Pakistan Army’s budget, they first included the non pushtoons.

Looking back at the Mujahideen presence in Afghanistan

That created an imbalance and they were forced to include some of the Pushtoons from the 17 million population of this race in Afghanistan. This in my view was the perfect inroads for the Mujahideen to have their sympathizers infiltrate right at the recruitment level. And that came in handy when Mujahideen announced the takeover, droves upon droves of the Afghan Army started to surrender. You see, Armed forces are a psychological phenomenon as well. Once the majority sees the high ranking officials surrendering then the low ranking soldiers have no leader left, they surrender as well.

And this is exactly what happened in Afghanistan. Surrender within 19 days without firing a single bullet. The Golden Ring of Treasures. Most of the Central Asian countries are landlocked. The ring that comprises them are countries, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. And the only impediment in economic activities connecting all these countries through the land was Afghanistan. All the other Central Asian countries fall inside this ring. Imagine an entire region connected for the first time through roads and tunnels in modern history after the demise of The Silk Road concept.

Now imagine CPEC and The BRI. Pakistan taking the lead because of the only deep water port, Gwadar and road connectivity to all nations together that produce more than 56% of the world GDP. With the highest oil reserves, Russia is the worlds’ largest oil producer. The best mineral deposits, Afghanistan has over $1 trillion dollars of Rare Earth minerals, mostly Lithium, the new oil for the next few centuries, China leading the world in economic might and Pakistan being its all-time ally. The economic activity that will be created will dwarf any single country.

Read more: Afghanistan debacle potentially places UAE in shades of grey- Dr. James Dorsey

An economic giant block in the making.

A safe passage through Afghanistan for all the countries connecting it to Gwadar and a safe passage through the Central Asia countries and Iran all the way to Turkey, connecting Western Europe to these countries. $92 trillion dollars of the world GDP and 56% of it being locked within these countries and first time in modern history a combined trading block. And none of it could be done without Pakistan and its deepwater port. Simply put. Afghanistan became the graveyard of economic dominance dreams of the West and India.

The worst America can do at this time is to freeze Afghan assets overseas, nothing more than $15 billion dollars. And my prediction is that it will do that and do it in tranches. Will that kill the Afghan economy? No. Temporary chaos? Yes. Nothing more than that because this was expected and I am sure it was preempted in more ways than we can imagine. Conclusion is that the balance of economic power has tilted to the east. Pakistan will have regional importance like never before. Economic activity will pick up within the next 6 to 12 months and will continue to rise. Afghanistan will attract an immense amount of reconstruction and development funds.

Read more: Critics question Biden over 2,500 troops pull-out from Afghanistan

Not just roads but institutions like Tax Authority, Financial Markets Development, Banking sector enhancements, dams and you name it. Together all the countries I named above will reshape the region and Pakistan will be at the heart of all this. Insha Allah. Good days are ahead. 70,000 lives of our martyrs have finally brought us to this stage. Let’s pay tribute to them and play our cards right. And the first step towards playing the cards right is to STAY UNITED and fight FAKE NEWS.

Pakistan Zindabad

Mir Muhammad Ali Khan is a geo-strategic analyst with background in banking and finance. He was the first Muslim founder of an Investment Bank on Wall Street, is the author of 4 books, has published over 800 articles and is a known media commentator on international issues. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.