Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Mukhtar Tileuberdi has called for a multilateral approach to achieve stability in Afghanistan at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) roundtable on Afghanistan.
“We believe that peace, stability and sustainable development of Afghanistan will surely give a powerful impetus to the stability, development and regional cooperation among all Central Asian countries. Kazakhstan, as an active supporter of intra-regional cooperation processes in Central Asia, is seeking to unite the efforts in fostering mutual understanding and trust among regional stakeholders,” said Tileuberdi.
As per The Astana Times report, Tileuberdi emphasized the importance of integrating the Afghan economy with neighboring economies.
“It is our principled position that Afghanistan should not be viewed as a source of challenges but as a source of opportunities. It is, therefore, critical to integrate the economy of Afghanistan into that of its neighboring countries, including the Central Asian states, through enhanced interaction and connectivity, and investing in and developing regional infrastructure, trade and transit transportation projects,” said Tileuberdi.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Deputy Secretary General Sherali Jononov also emphasized the importance of developing the Afghan economy.
“An important factor in stabilizing the situation in this country can be the formation of regional transport routes within the framework of combining the idea of a large Eurasian partnership, China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative and national strategies of other Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states. The Khairaton-Mazar-i-Sharif Railway and the planned Mazar-i-Sharif-Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif-Peshawar (Pakistan) routes would create a new transit corridor with access to the ports of India, Iran and Pakistan,” Jononov added.
Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich expressed skepticism, however, regarding the importance of external factors in stabilizing the Afghan economy.
Tileuberdi also urged the OSCE to seek multilateral solutions to the challenges Afghanistan faces and highlighted the work Kazakhstan does with Afghanistan.
“Kazakhstan continues to provide technical and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan through bilateral and multilateral agreements. To date, we have provided assistance worth more than $80 million. And in recent years, this amount included $3.5 million, aimed at the construction of medical and educational centres, the restoration of roads and bridges in various provinces of Afghanistan. In addition, three years ago, Kazakhstan allocated $2 million to assist Afghan National Security Forces,” said Tileuberdi.
He emphasised the experience of educating Afghan youth in Kazakhstan as an example of Kazakhstan’s work.