Muhammad Zamir Assadi
China, the 2nd largest economy of the world and initiator of the historical plan of international development ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ has come forward to help the war-ravaged Afghanistan by extending China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs in America has stated that since invading Afghanistan in 2001, the United States has spent $2.313 trillion on the war, which includes operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Note that this total does not include funds that the United States government is obligated to spend on lifetime care for American veterans of this war, nor does it include future interest payments on money borrowed to fund the war. This $2.313 trillion spent on Afghanistan is a portion of the total estimated cost of the post-9/11 wars.
The longest American war fought in Afghanistan has killed thousands of Afghan citizens and damaged the fabric of the society.
The responsibility of destruction of Afghan society and halting its development process leads to the US.
By withdrawing from Afghanistan with its allies, the United States also did everything bad with the war-torn country by seizing Afghan’s assets of $7 billion frozen in the United States.
Following the US act, Afghanistan’s economy is on the verge of collapse. Inflation is soaring, and millions of Afghans are on the brink of starvation looking forward towards the international community.
The major responsibility of the development of Afghanistan and Afghan people lies on the United States and its allies who have destroyed the country in the last years during the war period by using every kind of lethal and destructive weapon.
In this time of crisis for Afghanistan, China has stepped forward to help the war-torn country by discussing the idea for the extension of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan.
The idea to extend the flagship programme of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was discussed during a meeting between China’s special envoy on Afghanistan Yue Xiaoyong and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood at the Foreign Office in Islamabad.
In the context of regional connectivity, both sides exchanged views on extension of CPEC to Afghanistan to promote economic development and prosperity.
Afghanistan at this stage of time is in a dire need of financial assistance from the international community for developing the better life standard of locals who have faced the wrath of the US-led war in the last years.
One of the reports by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) states that focusing on infrastructure development will help bring about long-term growth in Afghanistan and address persistent issues affecting the country’s economic prospects, apart from security, including poor connectivity, poor access to limited energy supply and low agricultural productivity.
Better infrastructure can strengthen economic growth, enlist improved mobility to energize commerce and agriculture and boost government revenues available for development spending.
China, as a major country pursuing the development patterns for all in the region, holds very clear, coherent and exclusive development policies for all including Afghanistan that is passing through the critical times of it’s history.
Initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) envisions trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.
Over the past 10 years or so, the BRI has followed the guiding principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
CPEC being a flagship project of the BRI that has gained marvelous achievements in various sectors has huge opportunities of development to Afghanistan.
China with its global agenda of development for the fulfilment of the development needs of various countries maintains an independent policy which reflects China’s priorities even for Afghanistan.
The idea of extension of CPEC towards Afghanistan shows the initiative has gained the desired results and with its productive development it is ready to extend its scope of work beyond the borders.
The landlocked Afghanistan in a very first may avail and connect itself with international destinations for the exposure of its trade.
The move also shows that China is well aware of the development needs of its neighbouring countries as the destroyers of Afghanistan do not belong to Asia and they will not come back for the contribution of the development process in Afghanistan.
So the expansion of CPEC based in mutual consultation for the development of Afghanistan will be a key of growth in the region as well that is hit with economic hardships in the wake of war on terror.
The needs of Afghanistan in the sectors of infrastructural development, vocational training, education, health and others may be fulfilled under CPEC that has attracted billions of dollars from China in Pakistan and many more billions of dollars are yet to be invested.
The development of Afghanistan will be the development of the region that needs integration for the extended economic activities for the betterment of locals.
(Courtesy Pakistan Observer)