A meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group took place in Dushanbe on July 14. 

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the meeting participants included foreign ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations and representatives of Afghanistan.  

The participants stressed the need to resolve Afghanistan’s crisis through political means, take practical steps to cooperate with Kabul, prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists and force economic and humanitarian cooperation with it.

Speaking at the meeting, SCO foreign ministers raised concerns about the chaotic situation in Afghanistan due to the U.S. withdrawal, and all were wary of the resurgence of international terrorist forces in the country.

All parties called for firmly advancing the political settlement process of the Afghan issue, voicing their support for restoring Afghan peace, developing economy, combating terrorism, and establishing an inclusive political structure in Afghanistan.

They also support the SCO in playing an important role in achieving peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, and are committed to strengthening coordination and cooperation at the regional and international levels to promote lasting peace and sustainable development in Afghanistan.

Pajhwok says the issues discussed at the meeting focused on Afghanistan’s membership in SCO, the roadmap for the organization’s cooperation with Afghanistan in three areas: (1) security, (2) economic, (3) cultural-humanitarian, and the situation in Afghanistan and its effects on regional stability and development.

The meeting resulted in issuance of a joint statement by foreign ministers of the SCO member nations.  

The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group was established in 2005 but its activity was suspended in 2009.  This meeting was the fourth one after the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group resumed functioning in 2017 and the first one at the ministerial level.

The previous meetings were held in Moscow on October 11, 2017, in Beijing on May 28, 2018 and in Bishkek on April 19, 2020.  Based on the established practice the meeting is held at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers of the SCO member states and Afghanistan.

The Protocol on establishment of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, signed in Beijing on November 4, 2005, says the Group was established with the purpose of elaborating proposals and recommendations on realization of cooperation between the SCO and Afghanistan on issues of mutual interest.

The Contact Group consists of Permanent Representatives of member states to the SCO Secretariat, Secretariat officers and senior diplomats of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Beijing.