Afghan armed confrontation termed as core destabilizing factor in South Asia

Int’l Conference: Regional Dynamics and Strategic Concerns in South Asia
Mohammad Arshad

Deputy Secretary-General, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Vladimir Potapenko, Wednesday, said that the armed confrontation in Afghanistan remained the main destabilizing factor in South Asia. SCO member states are interested in Afghanistan as a peaceful and neutral country that respects and observes human rights and freedoms, and maintaining friendly relations with its neighbors.
While addressing international conference on Regional Dynamic and Strategic Concerns in South Asia, he highlighted that the Astana declaration resolutely supported the efforts of the Government and the people of Afghanistan aimed at asserting a peaceful and stable state free of terrorism, extremism and illegal drug trafficking based on the United Nations’ central coordinating role in international efforts to stabilize the country and ensure its development.
He observed that Kabul was being provided wide-scale assistance in areas as defense, law enforcement, transport development, energy, anti-drug operations, training national experts, etc., both on bilateral and multilateral bases. The SCO members take an active part in a number of important international regional projects that also involve Afghanistan.
Sharing Pakistan’s concerns on India’s influence in Afghanistan, Ambassador (R) Rustam Shah Mohmand, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, said that the ongoing conflict has multidimensional implications for the former – from a stabilized border to acts of terrorism; decrease in the volume of bilateral trade to the plight of both refugees and returnees.
Dr. Attaullah Wahidyar, Senior Advisor from the Ministry of Education, Kabul, discussing the ingress of non-state actors in South Asia was of the view that Daesh, Islamic State or ISIS are all part of the same ‘terrorism industry’. However, he felt that while the entire globe hosts such agar plates like the Islamic State of Iraq, Asia in general and central Asia specifically seems to be more generous where ISIS has over 8000 recruits.
Ambassador (R) Mohammad Sadiq, Former National Security Secretary and Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, Government of Pakistan, while chairing the session “Strategic Situation in Afghanistan and its Regional Implications” said that while the stalemate in Afghanistan is not going to end soon, there are clear ethnic fault-lines which the Taliban cannot cross.
Professor Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, Dean, Faculty of Contemporary Sciences, National Defence University provided a comprehensive overview of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and said that in the aftermath of the cold-blooded murder of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a wave of carnage has been unleashed by India across the occupied Valley. In his concluding Vote of Thanks, Ambassador (R) Abdul Basit, President, IPRI was optimistic that the deliberations which emerged out of the conference had the potential to chalk out future trajectories for Pakistan’s foreign policy in a highly dynamic geographic and strategic environment. ‘The Kashmir issue remains the core bone of contention between Pakistan and India – peace in the region is dependent on its amicable and just resolution.

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