Smaller groups can better tackle terror

By Long Xingchun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Global Times, April 12, 2016
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During chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Fang Fenghui's trip to Kabul, Afghanistan last month, he proposed an anti-terror alliance that includes Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

After the September 11 attacks, the US launched an anti-terror war in Afghanistan, which garnered support from not only NATO members, but also regional stakeholders such as Pakistan, China, Russia and India.

More than a decade has passed. The war on terror has achieved some results, but terrorists have not been wiped out. Parts of Pakistan have fallen into the hands of terrorists. The Pakistan-Afghanistan area is still a hotbed for terrorism that threatens regional security.

In 2014, the US and NATO gradually withdrew their troops from Afghanistan. Neighboring countries, especially major powers such as China, Russia and India, are obliged to play a more important role in Afghan stability and regional anti-terrorism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) led by China and Russia, with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as the original members, was intended to tackle terror in the region. Since India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran became either new members or observers, the international community has placed high expectations on the SCO's role in anti-terrorism.

However, the expansion of the SCO does not mean it has become more effective at tackling terror. As the number of members increases, internal coordination becomes more difficult. Meanwhile, although anti-terror cooperation fits the interests of all countries, each side has different understandings of what terrorism is and what constitutes a terror group, making it hard to reach a consensus.

Besides, some countries would bring in their own agenda and try to solve bilateral conflicts within the framework of the multilateral mechanism, which weakens anti-terror efforts.

For example, Pakistan used to support the Afghan Taliban regime, hoping that a friendly Afghanistan could become a strategic lever to counter India. Meanwhile, India's active involvement in the Afghan peace process has had some success in luring Afghanistan and thus alienating Pakistan, which stifled Pakistan's desire in assisting Afghanistan.

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