SCO countries should help Afghanistan: Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states should facilitate a smooth transition in Afghanistan and encourage Kabul to install a broad-based and inclusive government.
An Afghan boy stands next to a member of the Taliban in front of the Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul. Afghanistan needs the assistance of the international community, especially help from its neighbours, Xi Jinping said. (AFP)
An Afghan boy stands next to a member of the Taliban in front of the Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul. Afghanistan needs the assistance of the international community, especially help from its neighbours, Xi Jinping said. (AFP)
Published on Sep 17, 2021 04:27 PM IST
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By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states should facilitate a smooth transition in Afghanistan and encourage Kabul to install a broad-based and inclusive political government.

Afghanistan needs the assistance of the international community, especially help from its neighbours, Xi Jinping said.

Xi Jinping was addressing a meeting of the heads of state of the SCO in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, via video link.

The SCO comprises eight members: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; Afghanistan is an observer state in the group.

Beijing has strongly criticised the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan and have maintained close and frequent communication with the Taliban, which swept to power in mid-August.

China was one of the first countries to announce a 200 million yuan ($31mn) aid for Afghanistan, and it has urged the international community, particularly the US, to provide assistance to Kabul.

Beijing has also said that while it encourages Kabul to form an inclusive government and cut ties with terrorists, especially the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, it will never interfere in its domestic affairs.

“Afghanistan has undergone drastic changes. The withdrawal of foreign troops has opened a new page in its history. But Afghanistan still faces many daunting challenges, and it needs the support and assistance of the international community, particularly countries in our region,” Xi Jinping said.

“We SCO member states need to step up coordination, make full use of platforms such as the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group and facilitate a smooth transition in Afghanistan,” he said.

“We (the SCO) need to encourage Afghanistan to put in place a broad-based and inclusive political framework, adopt prudent and moderate domestic and foreign policies, resolutely fight all forms of terrorism, live in amity with its neighbours and truly embark on a path of peace, stability and development,” Xi Jinping said in his speech.

In the context of not interfering in another country’s domestic affairs, Xi said external forces should never be allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of countries under any pretext.

“We must never allow any external interference in the domestic affairs of countries in our region under whatever pretext. In short, we should keep the future of our countries’ development and progress firmly in our own hands,” he said.

Without naming the US or any western country, Xi Jinping said: “We should maintain firm confidence in our systems, reject condescending lecturing, and firmly support countries in exploring development paths and governance models that are compatible with their national conditions. We should support each other in steadily advancing important political agenda including domestic elections.”

On the issue of terrorism, Xi Jinping said the SCO needs to uphold “common security”.

“Faced with complex and fluid security dynamics in the region, we need to pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and take tough actions against terrorism, separatism and extremism, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement,” Xi Jinping said.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021