Uzbek president emphasizes Afghanistan’s ‘pivotal role’ in regional stability

Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev underscored Afghanistan’s “integral role” in Central Asia and its crucial contribution to regional stability during a special session of the United Nations on the economies of Central Asian countries (SPECA) in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Mirziyoyev expressed the necessity of the Taliban’s participation in global talks for achieving positive outcomes, emphasizing that Afghanistan, as an integral part of Central Asia, cannot be left alone with its problems.

“For certain reasons, today’s meeting is taking place without the participation of representatives from Afghanistan, even though this country is an integral part of Central Asia and is critical to regional stability,” he stated. “We cannot afford to leave this country alone with its problems. A positive outcome cannot be achieved without engaging the current Government in international dialogue.”

The Uzbek President urged the United Nations Economic Commission to collaborate with Afghanistan in the economic sector, recognizing the importance of inclusive engagement.

Many experts suggest that neighboring countries and the region are pushing for Taliban participation in global talks due to commercial and economic interests and concerns about terrorist activities in Afghanistan.

Abdullah Qarluq, a former member of the Afghanistan Senate, explained, “The motivations behind the actions of certain neighboring and regional countries can be traced to a couple of factors: firstly, their economic and trade interests, and secondly, their apprehensions regarding extremist groups affiliated with those nations.”

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Russia and Central Asia, expressed concern about the continued threat of drug trafficking from Afghanistan to the region. Omid Maisam, a researcher in international relations, highlighted the pressing need for collaborative efforts to address the dual threats of drugs and terrorism.

Russia and Central Asian countries, excluding Tajikistan, have maintained warm relations with the Taliban since their rise to power in August 2021. Despite occasional concerns about extremist activities in Afghanistan, these countries continue to host and cooperate with the Taliban.