Afghanistan is located
at the crossroads of Central, South and West Asia, sharing its borders with
the Central Asian States of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan on the
north, Chinese province of Xinjiang in the east, Iran on the west and
south-west, and Pakistan and Pak-occupied territory of Kashmir on the south
and south-east. Due to its strategic placement Afghanistan became the focal
point of intense rivalry between Tsarist Russia and Britain during the
nineteenth century. Afghanistan remained at the centre stage of international
politics as a theatre in the cold war games of super powers with Pakistan
acting as the frontline state of USA for channelling its financial, material
and military supplies to the Afghan Mujahideen. Pakistan used this opportunity
to divert part of these supplies to Indian border states of Punjab and Jammu
and Kashmir, thereby promoting the Klashnikov culture, trans-border terrorism
and religious extremism. In the post-cold war era, which has witnessed the
demise of USSR and establishment of an Islamic state led by Mujahideen,
Afghanistan has assumed importance due to its potential to influence the
societies and politics in its bordering countries. This has amply been
demonstrated by the events in Tajikistan. The Central Asian states and Russia
have responded by denouncing the export of terrorism and Islamic extremism and
by declaring the 'Inviolability of State Borders'. They have acted together to
defend the Tajik-Afghan border. Fresh eruption of factional fighting in
Afghanistan and shifting equations between the rival groups has once again
brought this region in the spotlight of international attention.
in Central and South Asia
It is in this backdrop that the Himalayan Research
and Cultural Foundation has devoted the first of its Occasional Paper
Series exclusively to the study of Afghanistan's involvement in Central and
South Asian politics and the challenges posed thereby to these states.
K. Warikoo provides an insight into the
trans-border movements across the Tajik-Afghan border, export of Islamic
militancy from Afghanistan to Central Asian states and the subsequent
responses by these states and Russia to meet the new challenge.
Uma Singh examines the involvement of Pakistan
in funnelling military and other supplies to Afghan Mujahideen and evaluates
the negative results of the spread of klashnikov culture, drug trafficking and
Afghan refugee problem on the society and politics in Pakistan.
A. K. Ray has with the support of documentary
evidence exposed the role of Pakistan in manipulating Afghan Mujahideen and
Islamist radicals in the ongoing terrorism in Kashmir.