Presided over by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, an extraordinary session of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Collective Security Council took place yesterday through video conferencing, according to the Tajik president’s official website. 

Taking part in the meeting chaired by Emomali Rahmon, were Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas. 

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev reportedly attended the session as a guest member.   

The CSTO Collective Security Council members discussed matters of ensuring security of the CSTO member states against the backcloth of the developments in Afghanistan, as well as efficient joint response to potential cross-border challenges and threats.

The session participants reportedly noted with concern the sharp deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan.

They stressed the importance of the responsible restoration of state power in Afghanistan through an inclusive peaceful dialogue with taking into consideration interests of all political, ethnic and religious groups of the country.  

It was noted during the session that the political regime in Afghanistan should be formed on the basis of the free expression of the will of the entire Afghan people, the Tajik president’s official website says.

Guaranteeing and protecting socio-political interests of all segments of society is of vital importance for the sustainability of any government of Afghanistan.  

The session participants reportedly reached an agreement to speed up the work on adoption of the interstate target program to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan border.

Thus, Belarusian news agency BelTA says Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko thinks that the states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) should fortify the Tajik-Afghan border against the background of the events in Afghanistan.

"Given a certain transparency of the borders between our countries, this issue also seriously concerns us. In this context, it is necessary to pay attention to practical measures on the further fortifying of the Tajik-Afghan border. This is what we should do as a matter of priority and without fail," BelTA quoted Lukashenko as saying at the CSTO Collective Security Council session on Monday.

He reiterated that during the upcoming CSTO military exercises Interaction-2021, Poisk-2021 and Echelon-2021 in Tajikistan on October 18-23 it would be necessary to work out the issues of counteracting actual threats from the direction of Afghanistan. "At the same time, we are not going to blackmail Afghanistan, current authorities, the Taliban. No, we are simply developing the protection of our CSTO borders just in case," the Belarusian president noted.   

Russian media reports says that in his speech, the President of Russia, like other heads of state, expressed his deep concern over the developments in Afghanistan and potential threats coming from there.

The importance of preventing the infiltration of radical Islamism in the CSTO member states was noted as well as the recruitment of their citizens into extremist groups, including via the internet and social media. Afghan drug trafficking is still an acute problem, so the CSTO will have to carefully monitor the developments in Afghanistan.

The President of Russia informed the meeting participants in detail about his telephone conversations on Afghanistan with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of France Emmanuel Macron, and Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi. Afghanistan was also on the agenda of the recent talks between Vladimir Putin and Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, held in Moscow on August 20.

In his speech, the President of Russia also focused on the need to coordinate approaches, including within the United Nations, the UN Security Council and the G20.

Following the meeting, the heads of state agreed to issue instructions to promptly develop joint response measures to the potential threats coming from Afghanistan today, because, as stressed by the participants in the extraordinary session, there are real risks for the entire region of Eurasia and the world at large.

The leaders expect these instructions to be implemented by September 16, when the heads of state will meet at the regular session of the CSTO Collective Security Council in Dushanbe, where the dialogue on Afghanistan will continue.

Collective Security Council in accordance with Article 13 of the CSTO Charter is the highest body of the Organization. The Council considers the fundamental issues of the Organization’s activities and makes decisions aimed at the realization of its goals and objectives, as well as ensures the coordination and joint activities of the Member States to achieve these goals. The Council includes heads of member states. Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Defense, Secretaries of Security Councils of Member States, the Secretary General of the Organization, Plenipotentiary Representatives of Member States to the Organization and invited persons can take part in meetings of the Council.  The Council has the right to establish, on a permanent or temporary basis, the working and subsidiary bodies of the Organization.  The Chairman of the Council (hereinafter - the Chairman) is the head of state on whose territory the regular session of the Council is held, unless the Council decides otherwise. His rights and obligations remain with him until the next regular session of the Council.

The regional security organization was initially formed in 1992 for a five-year period by the members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST) -- Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which were joined by Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Belarus the following year.  A 1994 treaty reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force, and prevented signatories from joining any “other military alliances or other groups of states” directed against members states.  The CST was then extended for another five-year term in April 1999, and was signed by the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.  In October 2002, the group was renamed as the CSTO.  Uzbekistan that suspended its membership in 1999 returned to the CSTO again in 2006 after it came under international criticism for its brutal crackdown of antigovernment demonstrations in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005.  On June 28, 2012, Uzbekistan announced that it has suspended its membership of the CSTO, saying the organization ignores Uzbekistan and does not consider its views.  The CSTO is currently an observer organization at the United Nations General Assembly.