As a key regional leader, Uzbekistan initiated and hosted one of the first and unique international conferences on Regional Connectivity of Central Asia and South Asia held from 15-16 July in Tashkent.
As a visionary foreign and regional policy by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Conference was a giant leap forward and is meant to bring together regional efforts in developing lasting cooperation options to bring peace and development in the region.
The conference was one of the largest gatherings so far from both regions and global participation to promote economic integration. Home to nearly one billion people in Central Asia and South Asia facing diverse levels of challenges including increasing poverty and health crisis, the conference aimed at finding solutions to the challenge of building lasting CA and SA connectivity.
The agenda of the International conference included but was not limited to exchanging views and making proposals to increase cooperation in trade, innovation, investment, energy, education, climate, transportation, tourism, culture, peace, and stability in the region.
With energetic and active foreign outreach by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, this was Uzbekistan’s giant leap forward to build a regional cooperation environment to create opportunities for development and peace.
Right after this important regional conference that was overshadowed by the withdrawal of the US forces and the chaotic situation in Afghanistan, in mid of July, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Foreign Minister’s Summit was hosted in Dushanbe. Foreign Ministers from all the permanent member countries participated in the event including the Secretary-General and Director of the Executive Committee of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the SCO.
SCO called for an end to the violence in Afghanistan and finding political settlement on the Afghan issue. Foreign Ministers joint call for supporting Afghanistan to restore, peace, justice, develop the economy and finally combat the threats of terrorism and the forces of three evils. SCO has a tremendous role to play in achieving peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Countries part of SCO are committed to playing an important role at the regional and global scale for peace and sustainable development in the country. The meeting adopted the Joint Statement of Foreign Ministers of SCO Member States on the Results of the Meeting in the Format of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.
And finally, on August 15, the world has witnessed with a shock that how all the security parameters and trillions of dollars of investment went into the drain when the Taliban took over Kabul without any resistance.
Fall of Kabul was sin-qua-non to the fall of the US Empire and its liberal world order that came trembling down. President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul without bothering to tell the US and his close supporters about his departure. It was a surreal moment for the US and its allied especially when there were towering claims were made to defeat the Taliban in every corner of Afghanistan.
But the tragedy was that Afghans were left at the mercy of the Taliban. Soldiers left, police abandoned, former warlords succumbed to the Taliban. The last time the Taliban was in power, women were not allowed to work. They had to cover their faces and need to accompany a male relative outside their homes.
Girls were not allowed to go to school. They banned TV. Chaotic scenes were there at the Kabul airport where people were clinging to the airplanes hoping to leave the country reflecting that the fear of the Taliban was greater than before.
However, we have witnessed through their conduct that this time around, the Taliban were different as they have given general amnesty but still there were chaotic scenes at Kabul airport. People were clinging to save their lives as fear of the Taliban. Right at the end of August, nearly a few days after the Taliban take over, there were huge blasts outside Kabul airport killing 13 US marines and killing dozens of civilians.
ISIS-K accepted responsibility. President Biden vowed to take revenge from the attackers. There were two drone attacks where further civilians were killed. The report released by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) refers to the irresponsible behavior of killing people without prior information.
These deaths were the first action in Afghanistan after 18 months. Many critics are accusing the Biden administration of its abandoning the stable and hard-won status quo for ordering an abrupt pullout. However, the blame should not be only on Biden but all the Presidents of the US and their administrations for going to war in countries like Afghanistan.
The suffering of Afghanistan will grow further as time goes by. Afghans and Afghanistan need to have their own sovereignty and integrity should be saved and respected by the international powers and regional countries. Unless this will be not be saved, peace and development in the region will remain a distant dream.