Ice is gradually thawing between Pakistan and Russia. It is resulting in strategic dialogue, one facet of which is about joining hands to establish peace and security in Afghanistan. This is quite significant because not long ago the country was the bone of contention between the two foes, the fault line of the cold war which ruled out any possibility of friendship. By now starting off from the same sore point, albeit with the experience of the past, there is reason to believe that a genuine desire for peace and friendship is at play.

During the talks held in Islamabad, measures such as stamping down gun-running, non-proliferation came under discussion while it was agreed to continue the dialogue process. The region stands to gain a lot from such cooperation, particularly when it comes to restoring peace in the war-torn Afghanistan. It comes as a comfort to know that this remedial course is based on the idea of “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned”. Having experienced this veritable graveyard of empires at close quarters, both the countries understand its culture, society and other variety of problems quite well. Afghanistan shares a long border with Pakistan and it once was Russia’s neighbour. The factor of proximity is a real one and so is that of foreign intrusions and military adventures, both of which have proven to be ailed strategies as far as Afghanistan is concerned. Peace in the region is essential for both Russia and Pakistan, and cannot be achieved in the absence of stability in war-torn Afghanistan. Besides this, the motivation for the Afghan invasion, where the war on terror was meant to eradicate militancy, has few supporters left, after even the US now encourages a role for the Taliban in the next government! It is in this perspective that one comes to the conclusion that mistakes of the past must be avoided at all cost, if a new beginning is to be made.

The US is on the other side of the globe but for Pakistan and Russia, it is totally a different proposition. Any way out of the mess, Islamabad and Moscow might suggest should, hence set off from Kabul.