Shukhrat Kobilov, Chief Researcher, International Institute of Central Asia
Afghanistan’s economic recovery may be one of the main topics at the upcoming SCO summit in Samarkand.
After the sudden complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the role and importance of the SCO in normalizing the situation in this country has significantly increased.
In this regard, the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to hold regular high–level meetings in the SCO-Afghanistan format with the involvement of the Organization’s observer states in the dialogue: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Cambodia, Nepal, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as international organizations, is of particular relevance.
The effectiveness of this format is proved by the international conference on “Afghanistan: Security and economic Development” held in Tashkent in July 2022, which was attended by delegations from more than twenty foreign countries and international structures.
The conference demonstrated the openness of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy and the urgency of solving the issue of restoring the historical interconnectedness of the regions of Central and South Asia. The construction of the Mazar-I–Sharif–Kabul-Peshawar railway with access to the Pakistani port of Gwadar could be one of the large-scale projects contributing to the revival of the Afghan economy, the development of trade between a significant number of Western and Eastern states and the change in the geopolitical landscape of the region as a whole. This idea was voiced by the President of Uzbekistan.
The Tashkent Platform has already proved its effectiveness and may in the future become a venue for negotiations and discussion of key groups of issues on Afghanistan, such as security, prevention of threats of extremism and terrorism, creation of an inclusive government, ensuring human rights and freedoms, socio-economic recovery, implementation of infrastructure and humanitarian projects.
The future development of the situation in this country, its return to modern world economic ties and international relations, as well as regional stability, will be dependent on finding mutually acceptable solutions to these concerns, first and foremost by SCO member states. ///nCa, 10 September 2022 (in cooperation with Embassy of Uzbekistan in Turkmenistan)