By Farhad Naibkhel
KABUL: Former President Hamid Karzai called on regional powers and the international community to extend further cooperation to help Afghanistan in its pursuit of peace and stability.
Speaking at a virtual International Inter-Party Forum of SCO+ convened by Russia and the ruling parliamentary parties of the SCO member states, Mr. Karzai said that “building economies that uplift our people and enable us to confront many social, security and public health challenges require not only robust national policies but enhanced cooperation among SCO member states”.
He stated that “Afghanistan is now at a defining moment in its national endeavor for peace. Peace in Afghanistan will have a huge impact on regional security and economic development. For this reason, we hope SCO will take a more active approach in this engagement with Afghanistan to ensure the peace process comes to fruition at soonest”.
Karzai called on Russia “as a major stakeholder in regional peace and stability and an ally of Afghanistan to take an active part in our effort for peace and reconciliation”. It is crucial that major powers in our region coordinate among themselves for peace in Afghanistan. “We are looking to major powers in our neighborhood, China, Russia and India, which have deep interest in security and prosperity of the larger region to exert that influence in shaping peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
The role of our neighbors including Iran and Pakistan is crucial for Afghanistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation. We hope that the outcome of peace process will also lead to a civilized relationship with Pakistan, and to a region free of violence and extremism, he added.
He also called upon the United States and Afghanistan’s allies in the west “to engage with our neighbors and the major powers on a transparent platform to ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan. And we hope that the international community will support Afghan mechanisms for resolution of the conflict in order to ensure that the will of the Afghan people is fully manifested in the outcome of a political settlement, he said.
He further added that Afghanistan is a land bridge between South, West and Central Asia and can deeply influence integration, stability and prosperity in the entire region. We are bound by the shared history and civilizations with all the great countries represented in the SCO and our common future of security and prosperity depend upon living in peace and harmony. That’s why Afghanistan has been an active advocate of regional cooperation and integration for the past 20 years. We are a member of SAARC organization and we hope that Afghanistan will soon join Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).