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SCO Opens in Tajikistan: Pakistan’s Imran Khan Calls for Replacing Geo-politics With Geo-economics

SCO Opens in Tajikistan: Pakistan’s Imran Khan Calls for Replacing Geo-politics With Geo-economics

Sept. 16, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is convening at the head-of-state level in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with the crisis in Afghanistan the major immediate challenge to their 20-year mission. The eight SCO countries—China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—become nine with full membership granted to Iran. (Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia are “Observer States”; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey are “Dialogue Partners.”)

Early reports indicate multiple “sideline” meetings of the leaders of various countries. In particular, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was quite busy on Thursday, meeting on the sidelines with Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. He had a more extensive bilateral meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on “trade, investment and transportation links.”

He had been welcomed at Dushanbe’s airport by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon. According to the statement released by the Pakistani government, he described an upgrading of the two countries’ engagement—what he termed his “Vision Central Asia” policy—and emphasized connectivity and Pakistan’s “pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea.” His key example of connectivity was the Trans-Afghan railway project connecting Termez/Mazar-e-Sharif/Kabul/Jalalabad/Peshawar. His statement repeated the need to transform from “geo-politics” to “geo-economics.”

He also addressed the new Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum on expanding the “minuscule” $80 million of trade. He declared that Pakistan would expedite work on the CASA-1000 power transmission line to benefit from “your clean and cheap energy [such as] hydroelectricity”, too much lacking in Pakistan. Otherwise, he stated that he would work with President Rahmon to stabilize Afghanistan: “We will be doing our best to make sure they get together and there is an inclusive government.”


Taliban Want Relations with Regional Nations

Taliban Want Relations with Regional Nations

Sep. 6 (EIRNS) — TASS, citing Al Jazeera, reported this morning that the Taliban intend to invite a number of foreign countries to be present at the installation of the new government that they expect to announce within the next few days. “We have sent invitations to Turkey, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar to take part in the [ceremony] of announcing [the composition of the new Afghan] government,” said an unnamed Taliban representative.

Mohammad Akbar Agha, a former Taliban field commander and now the leader of Afghanistan’s High Council of Salvation, told TASS yesterday that the Taliban is very interested in establishing relations with Russia, Iran and Pakistan. “We should establish broad relations with Moscow, since it is in the interests of both the Taliban and Russia,” he said. “Iran and Pakistan are also countries we want to establish relations with. They need us and we need them.”

Agha also said that the Taliban have no objections against having a U.S. embassy in Kabul but Washington is afraid of it. “Before the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan there was a possibility to have good relations with Washington. But after their invasion and their crimes … relations have worsened,” he said. Agha said that “there are chances that [diplomatic] relations between the United States and the Taliban will be established. I think the Taliban will not be against opening the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. But the United States is afraid of the current situation in the country and most likely there will be no embassy for some time,” he said.


Mr. Jackson
@mrjackson