NATO secretary general to address conference

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will participate today in an event hosted by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. On

Jens stoltenberg norway

Photo: EPA

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will participate today in an event hosted by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

On the agenda is NATO’s plan of action with regards to Afghanistan. The Taliban seized the opportunity presented by US troops’ withdrawals and captured Kabul, forcing many Afghans to flee the country. Additionally, Brussels is worried about Russian and Chinese plans to form bilateral ties with Taliban in efforts to curb Brussels’ regional influence.

Beijing sees the direct talks as an opportunity to integrate Kabul into its Belt and Road Initiative, and it will provide funds with the aim of securing its leverage in the region. Therefore, along with the growth of trade between Kabul and Beijing, expect China to invest heavily in infrastructure projects such as railroads and highways. Kabul will likely become a competition ground between Moscow and Beijing during the medium- to long-term as both will aim to assert their influence. While Moscow will hesitate to recognize the new Afghan state at first, the uncontrolled circulation of Afghanistan’s opium to Russia will likely draw the Kremlin’s eye. In this context, Moscow will likely apply the carrot and stick method when negotiating with the Taliban.

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