Head of CSTO and Tajik president discuss Afghanistan
Photo: Khovar

Central Asia Remains Concerned About Terrorism in Afghanistan Despite Kazakhstan Delisting Taliban

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – While Kazakhstan has removed the Taliban from its list of terrorist groups and Russia is considering a similar move, the CSTO continues to view Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as a significant terrorism threat to its member states.

As reported by the Russian news agency TASS, during a meeting on Monday, June 3, CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov described Afghanistan as the main hub of instability and a significant source of cross-border challenges in the region.

“The organization continues to monitor the challenges and threats associated with the ‘Afghan hub’ and coordinate efforts to counter them using the capabilities of the working group on Afghanistan under the CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers,” CSTO chief emphasized.

Meanwhile, during the meeting, Rustam Emomali, the speaker of Tajikistan’s parliament, said that the situation in Afghanistan remains difficult and that no real progress has been observed.

“Afghanistan has once again become a breeding ground for terrorism,” he emphasized.

The Tajik senior official highlighted that over 1,000 religious madrassas have been established in Afghanistan in recent years, mostly in the northern part near CSTO borders. He claimed that these madrassas also train suicide bombers, potentially posing long-term negative consequences for the CSTO region.

Established in 2002, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is an intergovernmental military alliance in the Eurasian region. Its membership includes six post-Soviet states of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan as well as Russia.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has ignited security fears among its neighbors, especially CSTO members and Pakistan. These concerns stem from the potential resurgence of terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), and Jamaat Ansarullah, which could greatly destabilize the region.

In recent years, CSTO officials and member states have consistently voiced concerns about the presence and increasing capabilities of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan, particularly in the northern regions.

Last year, Colonel General Anatoly Sidorov, the former Chief of the CSTO Joint Staff, estimated ISKP to have around 6,500 fighters, with a concentration of 4,000 near Tajikistan’s southern border in Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Takhar provinces.

Adding to these concerns, Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, said that approximately 20 terrorist organizations operate in Afghanistan, numbering around 23,000 militants.

Despite global concerns, particularly from regional countries, about the rise of terrorism and drug trafficking linked to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan recently became the first country to remove the Taliban from its list of terrorist organizations.

Similarly, last month, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice in Russia advised President Vladimir Putin that the Taliban could potentially be delisted from the country’s designated terrorist groups.