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Security Conflict

What Afghans Want From the West

Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps on patrol in Sangin, Helmand
Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps on patrol in Sangin, Helmand. Photo: Al Jazeera English/flickr.

The date of the withdrawal of most of Western forces from Afghanistan is approaching but the war and the state of the war in Afghanistan continue. The US consolidates its strategic military bases in Afghanistan while it is talking about pulling out. Despite this conflicting narrative, the Western disentanglement in Afghanistan gives rises to two crucial and conjointly defined questions. First, how will Western drawdown shape the future of Afghanistan? Second, how will the major post-withdrawal power vacuum in south and Central Asia makes the geopolitical map of south and Central Asia and by consequence, the global power structure?

Both the power vacuum and global power structure gravitate largely on the outcome of the war in Afghanistan and the future of ungoverned titanic mountain ranges between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a leftover of the nineteenth-century British colonialism.  History let Afghanistan in a unique geopolitical position. The turbulent developments in the last two centuries show that this country—was once described by the late Richard Nixon as the “turnstile of the fate of Asia,”—has been a transit area for the emerging powers in the region and its future has been determined by adventurous foreign interventions. This truth makes the Afghan theatre of war merely a sideshow in the larger regional and international contention that was termed by Kipling ‘the Great Game,’ in Central Asia.