As the Taliban makes rapid advances across Afghanistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has said the activities of terrorist outfits remained a key factor of instability in the country and called on all parties concerned to refrain from actions that could lead to unpredictable consequences.
The SCO also called for increased cooperation of all interested states and global organisations under the central coordinating role of the UN for the “stabilisation and development” of Afghanistan.
At a meeting in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on Wednesday, the foreign ministers of India, China, Pakistan, Russia and other member countries of the eight-nation grouping carried out a detailed deliberation on the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan as the US withdraws its forces from the country.
The SCO also reaffirmed its position that there is no alternative to settling the conflict in Afghanistan through political dialogue and pitched for an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, a position that is similar to that of India’s.
In a joint statement following the meeting, the SCO condemn the ongoing violence and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and particularly expressed concern over the increasing concentration of various terrorist, separatist and extremist groups in the northern provinces of the country.
“We condemn the ongoing violence and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, whose victims are civilians and representatives of State authorities, and call for their early cessation. We note that the activity of international terrorist organizations remains a key factor of instability in that country,” the SCO said.
The meeting of the foreign ministers took place under the framework of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.
“We are deeply concerned by the growing tension in Afghanistan’s Northern Provinces caused by the increased concentration of various terrorist, separatist and extremist groups. We consider it important to step up joint efforts by SCO member states to counter terrorism, separatism and extremism,” the SCO said.
The SCO also offered to assist Afghanistan in becoming a country free of terrorism, war and drugs.
“We urge all parties involved in the conflict in Afghanistan to refrain from the use of force and actions that could lead to destabilization and unpredictable consequences in areas along Afghanistan’s borders with SCO member states,” it said.
“The SCO member states confirm their readiness to further develop cooperation with Afghanistan in combating security challenges and threats in the region, above all terrorism and drug-related crime in all their forms and manifestations, and to jointly confront ‘double standards’ in addressing these tasks,” according to the statement.
The SCO said it respects the Afghan people’s autonomous choice of their own path to development and was convinced that the intra-Afghan negotiation process must take into account the interests of all ethnic groups represented in the country.
“We call for increased cooperation of all interested states and international organisations under the central coordinating role of the UN for the stabilization and development of this country,” it said.
In his remarks at the meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the future of Afghanistan cannot be its past and the World is against seizure of power by violence and force.
Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US aimed to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by August-end, ending a nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.