On 14 July 2021, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov visited Dushanbe and attended a meeting of the foreign ministers of the SCO member states and Afghanistan in the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group format.
Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Mohammad Haneef Atmar attended the event together with the foreign ministers of the SCO member states and the heads of permanent SCO bodies.
During his remarks, the SCO Secretary-General noted that, against the backdrop of rising tension in the northern Afghan provinces prior to the final withdrawal of foreign forces from the country, regional states and international organisations were playing a major role in facilitating Afghanistan's peaceful development. The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group has accumulated impressive practical experience of merging the positions of various countries, in cooperation with Kabul, and is an effective platform for searching for common approaches to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan.
Mr Norov underscored the need for focusing on high-priority measures to implement the joint road map of subsequent actions to help Afghanistan assert itself as a country free from terrorism, war and narcotic drugs and also for the sake of strengthening regional stability. This is why the SCO should continue to prioritise efforts to prevent and contain threats emanating from terrorist and extremist groups in Afghanistan's border areas.
In this context, he said that the approval, at the up-coming summit, of the 2022-2024 SCO Member States' Programme on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism was a timely measure.
"Continuous political-diplomatic support for intra-Afghan dialogue on the part of the SCO member states made it possible to chart optimistic prospects during the search for options to resolve the national conflict by peaceful means. At the same time, the SCO member states are providing Afghanistan with every possible sort of support and assistance on a bilateral basis, and they are also expanding ties in border areas," Mr Norov added.
This process should also facilitate Afghanistan's purposeful involvement in expanding the regional transport, logistic and energy infrastructure which is critically important for rebuilding the country's economy and for increasing the connectivity of various combined integration initiatives, proposed by the leaders of our states.
"In this respect, it would be appropriate to work more actively on the current draft plan of practical measures to facilitate the socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan within the framework of the Contact Group," Mr Norov added.
"The Joint Statement of foreign ministers of the SCO member states that will be adopted following the meeting, will make it possible to consolidate the parties' approaches and to chart joint short-term actions regarding Afghanistan," the SCO Secretary-General said in conclusion.