Geneva: Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger has said that Afghanistan's neighbours need to be engaged in order to find a long-term solution to the conflict there.
Pakistan, Iran, China and India all have an interest in preventing a Taliban victory and al Qaeda from establishing itself in Afghanistan, Kissinger told an international security conference in Geneva yesterday.
"The presence of a terrorist, drug-producing state in that geographic location will affect every country," Kissinger said.
"For Pakistan it will undermine whatever order exists today," he said, adding that Shi’ite-majority Iran would also be threatened by a fundamentalist Sunni regime in Kabul.
"In many respects India will be the most affected country if a jihadist Islamism gains impetus in Afghanistan," said Kissinger.
"Even China, with its problems in Xinjian, cannot be indifferent," he said, referring to China's northwestern province which has recently seen increased Muslim unrest.
The 87-year-old, who negotiated US disengagement from the Vietnam conflict, said "an essentially unilateral American role cannot be the long-term solution" for Afghanistan.
Kissinger's speech prompted protests outside the conference venue by Chilean and Argentine groups angry at his support for military dictatorships there during his time as secretary of state in the 1970s.
First Published: Saturday, September 11, 2010, 11:03