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Editorial: Regional stability

Head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat, Natalya Drozd, and Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed on improving security situation in Afghanistan in their recent meeting. Both agreed that there was need for consolidation of efforts to strengthen stability in the region which is facing severe security challenges. They also discussed combating international terrorism and drug trafficking. It is good to know that most of the neighboring countries are showing interest to help the Afghan government to defeat terrorism. To what extent the OSCE and Turkmenistan are serious about the current security situation in Afghanistan would be determined by their efforts on the ground. However, some countries in the troubled region are not serious when it comes to joint efforts against extremism and terrorism. They are relying only on statements.

Since the Soviet Union was the key player in destabilizing Afghanistan, therefore, the Central Asian Republics should lend support to Afghanistan in the fight against insurgency and terrorism. History is littered with examples of the countries in the region that pretended to be friends of Kabul but stabbed Afghanistan in the back for their narrow foreign policy goals. Now it is responsibility of the neighbors to help Kabul in establishing peace and stability in the country. Despite having little influence and meager resources, the Afghan government has taken all possible steps to reconcile with the militant groups but the stubborn Taliban and Haqqani Network are not ready to become part of the peace talks. Support of the regional countries for the Afghan-owned peace drive is crucial in this regard. The Central Asian Republics and other countries should pressurize the states that are supporting these militant groups. The regional countries should establish an anti-terrorism forum to take actions against those who are backing insurgency in the region.

It will not only help Afghanistan but the Central Asian countries as well to tame militancy and usher in a new era of prosperity, peace and mutual cooperation.  Afghanistan was not what it seems now. Once the country was stable and a tourist attraction, but military mindset in the neighborhood had destabilized the region. Use of extremism to pursue foreign policy objectives put the regional stability at stake. That is why most of the countries in this region are worried out spread of extremism and terrorism, especially after emergence of the Islamic State or Daesh.

There is need for a joint mechanism to fight drugs and human trafficking as well as terrorism in the region. Without sincere efforts and a common forum, peace and stability in the region will remain only a dream.

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