The SCO; the opportunity for regional consensus

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 02:53 Written by  Read 342 times

Regional consensus is essential for the settlement of Afghan conflict. It is widely believed that it is certainly difficult, if not impossible, to bring peace to Afghanistan without the cooperation of regional states. The events after the ouster of the Taliban regime proved that coordination among regional and global powers is imperative for stability in Afghanistan. When the US-led Western coalition deployed troops in Afghanistan, all regional nations welcomed the decision hoping that it will neutralize the threat of terrorism originating from Afghanistan. That led to a relative stability in the country for the first few years. Later on, Pakistan resorted to playing a destructive role. Now in addition to Pakistan, other regional states have also become suspicious of American goals in Afghanistan, and they publicly declare their stance on the issue. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a good platform to forge a regional consensus on Afghanistan. The influence of the powerful member states of SCO over Afghanistan cannot be ignored. India and Pakistan were also granted full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in its this year summit. The move will further increase the significance of SCO in building a regional consensus on Afghanistan because Delhi and Islamabad are the key players in Afghan imbroglio.
Besides making efforts to get full membership of SCO, Afghanistan should also fully deploy the potential of the organization in forging the consensus. All member states of the SCO, except Pakistan, view stability in Afghanistan in their interests. The continuation of instability in the region can threaten the economic interests of the SCO’s leading members, China and Russia; therefore, they are expected to do more to bring stability to Afghanistan. Moreover, Moscow and Beijing are expected to stop Islamabad from playing a destructive role in Afghanistan given their influence over Pakistan. The stronger the Afghanistan-SCO ties, the better the opportunities for forging regional consensus. So keeping this importance in mind, Afghan government should establish a strong, professional team within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for building ties with SCO and implementing its decisions. This will accelerate the process of Afghanistan’s full membership in the SCO on the one hand, and encourage its member states to come around to a unanimous stance on Afghanistan on the other hand.

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