India hosted the first India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan on 7 March 2023.
According to Ministry of External Affairs of India, the meeting was attended by the Special Envoys/Senior Officials of India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Therepresentatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) joined the meeting via videoconference.
The Joint Group exchanged views on the current situation, including the political, security and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
The participants emphasized the importance of formation of a truly inclusive and representative political structure that respects the rights of all Afghans and ensures equal rights of women, girls and members of minority groups, including access to education.
The agenda of meeting covered such issues as preventing drug trafficking and terrorist threat, providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
India offered capacity building training courses for the relevant stakeholders/partner agencies of UNODC and the relevant officials/stakeholders of Central Asian countries in the field of countering illegal drug trafficking.
Moreover, India and UNODC also agreed to partner for the efforts to counter drug trafficking, including the efforts for rehabilitation of Afghan drug user population, especially the Afghan women and providing assistance in development of alternate livelihood opportunities.
Hsiao-Wei Lee, Country Director for WFP Afghanistan, emphasized the importance of the Multifunctional transport and logistics Hub created by Uzbekistan in Termez to deliver humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. In her opinion, “this is especially relevant today, when more than 23 million Afghans are starving.”
To address the current humanitarian situation, Indian side announced its partnership with UNWFP for the delivery of 20,000 MTs of wheat for Afghan people through the Chabahar Port.
The participants adopted a joint statement and agreed to continue consultations in this format on a regular basis.
The statement says that the meeting emphasized that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist acts and reaffirmed that no terrorist organizations should be allowed to use the territory of Afghanistan. ///nCa, 9 March 2023