Putin at the SICA Summit: Afghanistan Presents the Most Acute Security Challenge for the Region

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Afghanistan is one of the most acute security challenges for the region at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, known as SICA.

The summit began on Thursday, October 13, 2022, in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

According to the TASS News agency, in his speech, Putin said that Afghanistan is still one of the most acute security challenges in the region. During the past 20 years of US and NATO military presence and the failure of their policies, the country cannot resolve the terrorism threats independently.

According to the President of Russia, terrorist attacks continue in Afghanistan. He mentioned the attack, which took place at the Russian embassy in Kabul on September 5th. President Putin said: “To normalize the situation in Afghanistan, it is necessary to jointly promote its economic recovery.”

He said that Russia calls for compensation “for the damage caused to the Afghans during the years of occupation and to unfreeze the illegally blocked Afghan assets.”

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the president of Uzbekistan, invited the SICA countries to address the security problems posed by Afghanistan at the United Nations with the idea of creating a High-level international group. In his opinion, it is necessary to develop common approaches to interacting with the country’s interim government. “We cannot afford a repetition of the sad experience of the past when that country turned into an international terrorist hub,” Mirziyoyev concluded.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi also spoke at the SICA summit, addressing on Afghanistan he said overcoming the cycle of insecurity and instability in Afghanistan requires strong determination and taking practical steps through political dialogues, the aim of which is to form an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic and religious groups in the country and to implement international obligations, especially bilateral commitments with neighbors.

Afghanistan is one of the 27 members of the SICA inter-government forum, but this year no delegation from Afghanistan attended the summit.  The Taliban has ruled Afghanistan for the past year, but no country has officially recognized the Taliban regime. Fighting against terrorist groups, respecting human rights, and forming an inclusive government is an essential pre-condition for the Taliban administration’s legitimacy to be recognized by other countries.