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Afghanistan tops agenda at SCO summit

AT News

KABUL: Afghanistan’s conflict will be dominating the agenda of talks at Shanghai Cooperation Organization Foreign Ministers’ summit on Tuesday and Wednesday in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov have left for Tajikistan to attend the SCO Foreign Ministries summit where the situation in Afghanistan, which has deteriorated sharply due to the withdrawal of US and NATO troops, will be discussed.

In recent weeks, civil war in Afghanistan has intensified with escalation of Taliban attacks on government-controlled areas.

US President Joe Biden has announced September 11 as the deadline for US troops to leave Afghanistan, a process which is on the verge of completion within weeks.

“Just one more year of fighting in Afghanistan is not a solution but a recipe for being there indefinitely,” he said in a White House speech after the deadline.

“It’s up to Afghans to make the decision about the future of their country,” he said then, a statement which contradicts his predecessors who came to Afghanistan for counterterrorism and nation-building.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) emerged in Shanghai in 1996 as the Shanghai-5 Group, with the goal of combating new security threats with a summit of leaders from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In 2005, three countries, Iran, India and Pakistan, joined the organization as observer members. India and Pakistan became permanent members in 2017. Iran also applied for permanent membership in 2006 and 2015. Afghanistan, Mongolia and Belarus are also observer members of the organization.

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