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Will the Delhi conference turn a new page in Afghanistan's recent history? Meet the eight men who may just be doing so

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The 'Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan' assumes huge importance as several terror groups in the region have already started taking advantage of instability in Afghanistan after the return of Taliban rule in the country this August

The security chiefs of five Central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - along with Russia, Iran and host India got into a huddle in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the developments taking place in Afghanistan.

The 'Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan' assumes huge importance as several terror groups in the region have already started taking advantage of instability in Afghanistan after the return of Taliban rule in the country this August.

As the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda continue to ramp up their efforts to increase instability well beyond Kabul, the security bosses of Central Asian countries - which remain the most vulnerable - have upped the ante to urgently address the security challenges in the region.

India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is leading the high-level dialogue. 

Here's a look at the other participants:

Nikolay Platonovich Patrushev, Russia

Afghanistan

As Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev has been playing a major role in shaping Moscow's privileged strategic partnership with India. A former Director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), Patrushev is regarded as one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest aides. During his past visits to New Delhi, the 70-year-old seasoned intelligence official has also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss a wide range of issues of Russian-Indian cooperation, including strengthening interaction in multilateral formats like the SCO and BRICS.

Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Iran

Afghanistan

An Arab from Ahvaz, a city in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran near the Iraqi border, 66-year-old Ali Shamkhani commanded the Revolutionary Guards Navy during the war with Iraq. As a defence minister under President Mohammad Khatami between 1997 and 2005, Shamkhani was instrumental in improving Tehran's relations with the Arab states and remains the only Iranian to have received the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud, the highest Medal in Saudi Arabia. In 2016, Admiral Shamkhani, accompanied by his Deputy Saeed Iravani, visited India and called on PM Modi and also held discussions with his counterpart NSA Ajit Doval.

Also Read: To counter India’s Afghan conference, Pakistan hurriedly invites the Taliban, US, Russia and China for a Troika + meet

Karim Qajymqanuly Massimov, Kazakhstan

Afghanistan

Currently the Chairman of the National Security Committee, Karim Massimov also served as Prime Minister of Kazakhstan from 2007 to 2012 and again from April 2014 to September 2016. He is also proficient in five languages, including Chinese and Arabic besides Kazakh, Russian and English. In 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had landed in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, it was  Massimov who had personally received him at the airport. PM Modi thanked Massimov for the "memorable welcome" as both leaders held extensive talks and discussed ways to advance cooperation between the two countries.

Marat Mukanovich Imankulov, Kyrgyzstan  

Afghanistan

Lieutenant General Marat Imankulov has been in the national security agencies of Kyrgyzstan since 1986. As the Secretary of the Security Council of his country, Imankulov was in New Delhi almost two weeks ago to hold talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during the first India-Kyrgyzstan Strategic Dialogue. Born in the Chui region, Imankulov has done KGB courses in Kiev (1987) and Tashkent (1991) before self-nominating his candidature for presidency in 2011. He has been playing an active role in the development of Kyrgyz-Indian cooperation in all areas of interest, including the military and defence spheres.

Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahmudzoda, Tajikistan  

Afghanistan

Tajikistan believes that Afghanistan is once again becoming a hotbed of international terrorism after the return of Taliban in Kabul. Country's President Emomali Rahmon has over the last many months highlighted that the "catastrophic situation" in Afghanistan directly affects the Central Asian collective security zone and especially Tajikistan which shares more than 1,400 kilometers of border with the war-torn country. As Secretary of the country's Security Council, Rahmatjon had visited India earlier this year and also held extensive talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the constantly developing regional situation besides agreeing on accelerating the ongoing bilateral cooperation.

Charymyrat Kakalyevich Amanov, Turkmenistan  

Afghanistan

Police Lieutenant General Charymyrat Amanov was shifted from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Secretary of the State Security Council of Turkmenistan, last year. Improvement of situation in Afghanistan is extremely vital for Turkmenistan considering the construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) power transmission line and the railroad from Turkmenistan to some provinces of Afghanistan. On October 31, Turkmenistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov travelled to Kabul and held several meetings with the high-ranking officials of the Taliban regime.

Viktor Makhmudov, Uzbekistan

Afghanistan

Uzbekistan has maintained that it is "impossible to isolate Afghanistan" and leave it within the range of its problems during these challenging times. The country has recently opened the Uzbek-Afghan border and also resumed the supply of basic needs and oil products, as well as electricity to Afghanistan. Uzbekistan's National Security Advisor Lt Gen Viktor Makhmudov, who will be attending the meet in New Delhi, was also on a three-day visit to Pakistan last week. Makhmudov met his Pakistani counterpart Moeed Yousaf, Pakistani PM Imran Khan and also visited the Torkham border and Pakistan Military Academy during his three-day stay in the country.

Also Read: NSA Doval welcomes Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev at regional security conference on Afghanistan