SCO Secretary General states the need for a speedy settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan

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SCO Secretary General states the need for a speedy settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan 18.11.2019 11:58

The settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan is a key factor in establishing stability in the region, said SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov, speaking at the Xiangshan Security Forum. In his opinion, the Organization makes a significant contribution to solving this problem.

“Afghanistan continues to maintain the status of the largest producer and supplier of opiates in the world, the proceeds from the sale of which is one of the main sources of financing of terrorism,” Norov said.

The Secretary General recalled that in 2018, with the coordinating role of the SCO anti-terrorist structure, over 360 crimes of a terrorist nature were suppressed at the stage of preparation, more than 80 underground terrorist cells were neutralized, 67 militants were liquidated, including ten leaders of terrorist groups.

Norov noted that the SCO is planning a series of anti-drug activities jointly with ASEAN and the relevant UN office. The Organization’s experience in combating drug trafficking is becoming increasingly demanded in a regional and international context.

The resolution of the armed conflict in Afghanistan continues to be the focus of attention of the SCO member states, which are constantly faced with many threats. Among them - terrorist activity, drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, cyber-attacks, as well as propaganda of extremism and terrorism. Currently, Afghanistan remains the main source of terrorist activity in the SCO space.

The government and law enforcement agencies in order to combat terrorist groups in the border areas cooperate with the military and representatives of law enforcement agencies of neighboring states, such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Experts agree that the SCO can play a very important role in advancing the Afghan peace process and restoring stability in the country. Russia and China, as the two largest SCO states, can play a significant role in facilitating the Afghan peace process. A year ago, there was a tendency to attract the countries of the region to support negotiations with the Afghan armed opposition. So, on November 9 of last year, an unprecedented international meeting was held in Moscow with the participation of official Kabul and the Taliban movement (banned in Russia).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking at the opening of the meeting, emphasized that its format is aimed at a joint search for ways to establish intra-Afghan dialogue in order to advance the peace process.

“Russia is ready together with other countries to do everything possible to help resolve the situation in Afghanistan. This can only be done with the participation of all parties, ”said the Russian Foreign Minister.

Lavrov acknowledged that the long-standing conflict in Afghanistan can be resolved exclusively by political means, through dialogue between the warring parties. The head of the Russian foreign ministry is convinced of the inadmissibility of turning Afghanistan into a field of confrontation between external players. In his opinion, thinking in “categories of geopolitical games” leads to grave consequences for both the state and its neighbors.

“For several reasons, the SCO is interested in resolving the Afghan crisis,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, an Afghan expert in international relations.

“Firstly, all the member countries of this organization are united by a common geography, of which Afghanistan is a part. Secondly, the majority of SCO members have a cultural and religious community with this state. But the most important thing: for most of the SCO member states, terrorism is a common threat. Obviously, the SCO is now overcoming the internal disagreement over Afghanistan’s membership in this organization, but the question is how prepared the current Afghan authorities are. I believe that the country's leadership has an understanding regarding the benefits of integrating the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in this organization, but this is contrary to the policies of Western partners of Kabul”, the expert concluded.