Afghanistan Global

Afghanistan’s neighbors express terrorism concerns; Putin proposes a counter-terrorism center

During the latest Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, Russian President Putin called for establishing a regional counter-terrorism center to respond to threats in and around the region. Member states emphasized that terrorist groups continue to find safe havens in Afghanistan and that the situation remains volatile. 

While member states prioritize combating terrorism, there is a lack of concern regarding human rights and women’s rights violations. Russian President Putin, along with other member states, emphasizes the need to focus on countering terrorism, religious radicalism, drug trafficking, smuggling, and security threats from Afghanistan. 

Mr. Putin noted that “the priority of the SCO should be to fight against terrorist activities, prevent the radicalization of minorities, and stop drug trafficking and fight against organized crime.”

With the withdrawal of United States and NATO forces from Afghanistan, regional countries, particularly Russia, are intensifying their counter-terrorism efforts. According to a recent UN report, foreign fighters have been relocating to Afghanistan and that the link between the Taliban and both Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan remain “strong and symbiotic.” 

Without explicit criticism of the Taliban, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed that the SCO and the international community should take steps to meaningfully engage with the interim government for the sake of security, peace and progress. 

The Taliban regime has created a gender apartheid state in which women and girls, among other targeted groups, are subject to systematic oppression. The Taliban has barred women from public life and education, and rolled back previous gains won for women in the legal and economic sectors. 

Prime Minister Sharif’s statement reflects sentiments in the international community that countries are becoming more willing to give in and form diplomatic relations with the Taliban. This chain of events inevitably indicates that the Taliban could soon begin attracting official political recognition as Afghanistan’s legitimate government. These events would make the international community deeply complicit in the Taliban’s crimes against women and girls and legitimize their human rights violations.


Khaama Press 07/04/2023; FMF 06/12/2023

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