Addressing the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Tajikistan on Friday, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah called for collective efforts of regional countries in the fight against terrorism.
Abdullah said that terrorism remains the biggest “collective” challenge in the region and that Afghanistan as a frontline state bears the bulk of the burden in the fight against terrorism.
“A common threat is the presence of sanctuaries and support networks bolstered by drug and smuggling funding systems that act as lifelines to most of these [terror] groups,” he said, adding that the Afghan government is working with all involved nations especially Pakistan to eliminate the infrastructure, financial and human resources, and logistics of the insurgent groups – destabilizing Afghanistan and the region as whole.
Abdullah stressed that terrorism continues to threat the social and economic development in Afghanistan and connectively across the region. He said among the international terrorist groups that since 2014 found hideouts in Afghanistan, is Islamic State or Daesh which the Afghan government sees it as a serious threat.
“We use all means to identify and deny their foothold inside our country. Most of their recruits are non-Afghans, they are opportunistic in their dealings and affiliations with other militant groups including certain Taliban groupings,” Abdullah said. “We continue to appeal to our regional friends by stressing that fighting terrorism, extremism, and separatism will require our collective efforts that need close cooperation and coordination.”
However, he said that they need to treat all forms of terrorism as one. “We cannot make the mistake of differentiating between good and bad terrorism,” Abdullah said.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also welcomed the multinational regional meeting on counter-terrorism at the level of national security officials that was held in Tehran last month.
He also appreciated the countries contributions being made through the Hearth of Asia – Istanbul, and Kabul Processes conferences.
“The National Unity Government in Afghanistan continues to promote an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation agenda,” he said. “Earlier, this year, we presented a comprehensive plan for reconciliation and reintegration that was supported by the international community. Meanwhile, we will defend our citizens, their rights and achievements when attacked.”
Abdullah said that the Afghan government has made every effort to provide an enabling environment for expanding the borders of trade, transit, communications, investment in energy transmission to better equip them to fight poverty and unemployment by bringing the different segments of the region close to each other.
In conclusion, he reiterated that Afghanistan is strongly committed to working closely with ECO to enhance cooperation in key areas of interest in order to pave the ground for a peaceful, stable and prosperous region.