SCO Asked the United States to Support in Preventing Crisis in Afghanistan

September 18, 2021

While urging the Afghan Taliban to hand over power to a “more inclusive government,” leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) reminded the West in general, and the United States in particular, that it was their responsibility to help avert a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan after leaving the country after a 20-year presence. The fate of Afghanistan dominated the 20th SCO Council of Heads of State meeting which was held in Tajikistan’s capital. Pakistan joined the SCO as an observer in 2005 and as a full member in June 2017 alongside India. Other members of the organization which was founded 20 years ago, include Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, with Iran joining on Friday.

“The main part of the expenses related to Afghanistan’s post-conflict rebuilding should be borne by the US and NATO countries which are directly responsible for the grave consequences of their prolonged presence in the country,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said via video link at the summit. He urged Washington to unfreeze Afghan central bank assets that had been frozen since the Taliban’s takeover, claiming that without access to the funds, Afghanistan’s new rulers would be tempted to turn to the drug and arms trades.

He urged the Taliban to combat drug trafficking and extremist groups, while emphasizing that the SCO should “use its potential” to “stimulate the new Afghan authorities” in fulfilling their promises of normalizing life and bringing security to Afghanistan. The priority is to “avert a humanitarian crisis and an economic meltdown.” We must keep in mind that the previous government was heavily reliant on foreign aid, and its removal could result in economic collapse.”

The leaders were also wary of Afghanistan’s new interim cabinet, which was almost entirely composed of ethnic Pashtuns. Pashtuns, the Taliban’s main base of support, make up less than half of Afghanistan’s population. The majority of the other major ethnic groups share linguistic and ethnic ties with Tajikistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan. President Putin stated that the new provisional government could not be described as “representative or inclusive” because “no representatives of other ethnic groups are present.” However, we believe we must work with it.”

“Peaceful coexistence and cooperation, not confrontation,” should be the primary drivers of global politics. Extremist and bigoted ideologies have ascended to capture state power in some so-called democracies. PM Khan congratulated Iran on its admission to the SCO as a full member, addressing President Raisi as “my brother.” He also welcomed Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar as new dialogue partners. He congratulated outgoing SCO Secretary General Vlamdir Norov on the completion of his term and welcomed new Secretary General Ambassador Zhang Ming. He also congratulated President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Uzbekistan’s election as the SCO chair for 2021-22, and assured him of Pakistan’s full support.

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