China and US have reasons to cooperate in Afghanistan

Updated: 2016-01-14 07:48

By Chen Xiaochen(China Daily)

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China and US have reasons to cooperate in Afghanistan

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani attend a reception marking the 60th anniversary of China-Afghanistan diplomatic ties in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 3, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

The first round of the four-party talks on Afghanistan held in Islamabad on Monday saw Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States discussing a peace road map for the Afghan government and the Taliban.

But why are China and the US cooperating to resolve Afghanistan's problem?

The reasons are multiple including the US global rebalancing, the need for stabilizing Afghanistan and the region for mutual interest, the Afghan government's inability to restore peace in the country and region, and China's growing role in resolving international and regional issues.

First, the US global rebalancing has led to the withdrawal of US combat troops from Afghanistan, which must be offset by the efforts to keep peace of other powers. US President Barack Obama's decision to slow down the troop withdrawal through 2015 reflects the importance he attaches to the outcome of the US' engagement in Afghanistan.

Second, China and the US both have an interest in a peaceful and self-sustaining Afghanistan. On the diplomatic front, China, the US, and Afghanistan are already engaged in trilateral cooperation. And peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government can be established only after restoring trust between the Afghanistan and Pakistan, some of whose territory has been used by Taliban insurgents as a haven.

Moreover, US pressure on Pakistan has had limited effects and China could help reshape the dialogue. As an "all weather friend" of Pakistan, China is well positioned to play the role of constructive mediator, especially because Washington-Islamabad relations have deteriorated over the years.

Third, Afghanistan needs a government that can build infrastructure, create jobs, provide education and healthcare, and deliver justice to its people in order to establish permanent peace. But the fiscal and functional failure has made it difficult for the Afghan government to do so.

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