The Great Russian involvement in Afghanistan

For the last 8 years Russia has been spending millions of dollars internationally in order to improve its public diplomacy. Afghanistan has become a model of public diplomacy throughout the early 20th century. Since the end of cold war the term public diplomacy has gained great relevance among policy makers, mass media and academics in the world due to which Moscow gets a vast opportunity of spending money keeping in mind its initiatives of public diplomacy to promote its culture and language through media to achieve its goals in Afghanistan.

Through presidential speeches and cooperative behavior Russia has been struggling so far to strengthen its ties with western states with the help of its soft power and nation re-branding technique by launching its news channel Russia today in 2005 which proved to be decisive for its broadcasting and lead it in the development of major news portals in different languages globally.

Keeping in mind the targets or initiatives of public diplomacy a delegation of 20 Russian businessman landed Afghanistan last year in October to negotiate it ties with Kabul over the Russian investments in transport, agriculture and mining sectors of Afghanistan. These initiatives resulted in joint pledge to increase annual economic trade between Russia and Afghanistan to further deepen the economic links between them.

A closer examination of Russian act in Afghanistan portrays that Moscow’s military provision and economic investment in Afghanistan are part of Russian re-branding strategy in Afghanistan to improve its global image and ties with it after the past incident of soviet war in Afghanistan in 1979 and many Russian policy makers believe that their economic investments in Afghanistan will help to overcome negative consequences and past grudges of the two states and relations of their governments. If Russia proved to be successful in achieving public support for its involvement in Afghanistan then there will be chances that Afghan government and its officials extend their hands in cooperating with Russia to resolve the political crisis of Afghanistan.

The pursuit of Russian soft power in Afghanistan reveals its role in expanding Afghanistan’s infrastructure development through its millions of economic investments. In 2014, because of this positive image of Russia the former afghan president Hamid karzai praised Soviet Union for its efficient role of investing in Afghanistan’s economy.

The Russian state media and political officials stated that the ineffective US investments and its corrupt image in Afghanistan has increased the opportunity of Russian economic reconstruction proposals in Afghanistan which will proved to be decisive for Moscow in achieving its aim of public diplomacy.

The Afghan National Army (ANA) also shows positive attitude towards Russian economic developments and praised its efforts in Afghanistan and even among Afghani people who lost everything and their loved ones in Soviet war in Afghanistan. This scenario shows that the infrastructure investments of Russia in Afghanistan will foster its sentiments in Afghanistan in near future.

Despite all these efforts the Russian policy makers stepped to provide military assistance to Afghanistan in order to improve the negative sentiments of Afghanistan about Russia therefore in 2016 the Russian government provided the donation of 10,000 automatic rifles along with million rounds of ammunition to Kabul. This was greatly praised in Afghanistan and helped to overcome the negative blames on Russia for the provisions of arms to Taliban. Moreover this act of Russia helped many Afghan officers to be trained in Soviet combat techniques. The continuous use of Russian riffles and Russian language by Afghan military depicts that the Russian arms donations and their training to officers has great influence on them.

Due to the Great Russian involvement in Afghanistan, its Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum travelled Moscow in 2015 to meet Russian policy makers and held discussions to overcome terrorism and combat the Taliban of Kunduz and ISIS in Afghanistan to Central Asia. If pro Russian sentiments rise among Afghan officials then the diplomatic role of Russia in Afghanistan’s political crisis will increase it. The major threat to Russia is by IS and Al Qaeda as they would threat Russian territory through the route of central Asia so due to which Russian officials has justify their contacts with Taliban.

The arms supplied to Al Qaeda are by US and for many years US has been doing this as part of its containment policy against Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Today Russian policy makers are standing with different strategy of public diplomacy in Afghanistan which is quite different from USSR and lead to the defeat of long stationing of Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Presently Russia is strengthening it ties and negotiations   with extremists whose leaders cause the defeat of Soviet’s in past. Hence today, Russia just wants to overcome the threats of ISIS in Afghanistan that’s why it is stationing and standing in the Heart of Asia and it wants to protect its territory from ISIS that might enter into its land through central Asia. . Moreover it wants to achieve its goals of economy, democracy, language, culture and foreign policy in Afghanistan

Venita Christopher
Venita Christopher
Venita Christopher is a young online journalist, columnist, writer, author, blogger and researcher.She started her writing journey at 18. She researches and writes on strategic,diplomatic ,and political issues. She do literary writings and also writes online stories on wattpad, quotes on mirakee and blogs on wordpress. Besides this she is currently working on national and international news websites.