Kissinger urges regional engagement in Afghanistan

The presence of a terrorist state will affect every country, Kissinger said.

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.