Conflicts & War

Taliban dismayed over exclusion from Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Kabul, July 5 (EFE).- The de facto Afghan government of the Taliban expressed its disappointment on Wednesday over Afghanistan’s exclusion from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), fearing that it would hamper security coordination and impede efforts for regional stability.

A foreign ministry statement welcomed the fact that such meetings help in creating better security coordination.

China and Russia formed the SCO, a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization, in 2001 as a counterbalance to Western alliances in Asia.

Over the years, the SCO has played a significant role in addressing security challenges and promoting economic development among its member nations.

Its member states include Pakistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The bloc currently has three observers – Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia – and six dialogue partners – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.

However, the Taliban were not invited to the annual summit hosted by New Delhi on Tuesday, as no international government has recognized the Islamist militia as the legitimate administration of Afghanistan since it seized power in August 2021.

The Taliban’s ministry statement said Afghanistan had an “inalienable right” to be invited as an observer for the summit hosted virtually by India.

With strategically located Afghanistan emerging as a significant player in regional security dynamics, the Taliban believe that its participation in the SCO could contribute to the stability of the region and beyond.

“(Afghanistan’s) absence is an obstacle to comprehensive coordination to prevent insecurity and prohibit drug trafficking, render humanitarian assistance, implement infrastructure projects, facilitate cooperation, and build mutual trust for the economic development of the region,” the statement said.

The Taliban appreciated the SCO declaration that “supports a free, stable, war-free, and drug-free Afghanistan.”

The international community has urged the Taliban to form an inclusive Afghan government and asked it to remove all restrictions the extremist group has imposed on women in the war-torn country.

Afghanistan’s neighbors, the United States, and its Western allies have closely watched the Taliban’s commitment to regional stability and counter-terrorism efforts. EFE


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