South Asia and Beyond

Afghanistan Is Stable But Uncertain, Pakistan Is Unstable And Volatile

Afghanistan is stable, secure and there is relative safety when one is travelling through the country, says Arshad Yusufzai, Peshawar based Pakistani journalist who travels frequently across the Durand Line.

In the first of two conversations recorded for The Gist, Yusufzai says that while it is safe to travel through the countryside economic conditions are dire. There are no jobs, poverty is widespread, there is inflation and scarcity of essential goods.

In his view, the Taliban is largely together with other militias, having fought the war against the US together. Yet there are doctrinal differences over issues like women’s education and empowerment. The Taliban sees its six neighbours as foreign policy priority, with Russia and China in the second rung and India in the third. There are issues with Pakistan on the Durand Line which do result in clashes and occasional fire fights.

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In the second interview, Azaz Syed of Geo News and CNN talks about the atmospherics in Pakistan ahead of the SCO foreign ministers meeting. The absence of an India-Pak bilateral when the same is happening with the other SCO members points to how bad relations are. But it is no less true that with both countries heading for elections next year, any diplomatic initiative may not have a long shelf life.

Tune in for more in this conversation with two leading South Asian journalists.