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EU, Central Asian leaders fret over Afghanistan’s deteriorating security and humanitarian situation

Afghan security forces inspect the site of a suicide blast in Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo: ANI/REUTERS)

European Union (EU) and Central Asian nations have expressed concern about the “deteriorating situation in Afghanistan” while stressing upon the stability and growth of the country.

A joint press communique released by the Heads of State of Central Asia and the President of the European Council underlined the need for an “inclusive and representative government” and the importance of promoting “fundamental freedoms of all Afghans citizens, in particular women, girls and ethnic groups”.

The leaders from Central Asia and EU also urged the international community to “step up humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan ” and reaffirmed their commitment to see Afghanistan develop into a secure, peaceful, stable, prosperous country.

Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported that the President of the EC, Charles Michel, called for the right to education and work for women and girls in Afghanistan. Michel said: “In Central Asia, you also face security threats from Afghanistan. And we share the same concerns. We appreciate the special insights that your countries have into the situation. It is important for all of us to have a stable and peaceful Afghanistan with an inclusive government that ensures human rights.”

Lleaders of Central Asian nations shared their pessimism regarding the threats of terrorism emanating from their southern neighbour, under Taliban rule since mid-2021. Countries fear emergence of global terrorism and the menace of drugs from the landlocked country.

Tajikistan President Imam Ali Rahman warned that Afghanistan’s northern provinces have transformed into a breeding ground for international terrorism and emphasized upon the need to strengthen the border protection between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Sadyr Japarov, Kyrgyzstan’s President also urged the Taliban government to pay heed to the international community’s concerns on a number of issues so that Afghanistan can integrate into regional and global economic cooperation.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told the leaders: “We always stand for Central Asia to be the area of peace and progress, productively cooperating with all the regions and countries. Stable development of our multifaceted partnership with the European Union directly depends on the security and stability in the region, including the situation in Afghanistan”.

Taliban deputy spokesperson, Bilal Karimi, however, said that Afghanistan does not pose a threat to any other nation and his country’s concerns are internal matters to be resolved in accordance with Islamic law and Sharia.

This was the second Central Asia-European Union leaders’ meeting held at Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, to discuss global developments including the war in Ukraine and the situation in Afghanistan. The first such meeting between the two regions was held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in October 2022.