ASTANA – On April 11, an international conference on “Regional Security and the Situation in Afghanistan” took place at the Center for Military and Strategic Studies here. The conference was organized by the Center for Military and Strategic Studies with the cooperation of the Public Opinion research institute and the Embassy of Pakistan.
Deputies of the Mazhilis, the lower house of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, and leading Kazakh and international experts attended the conference. Government officials and representatives of the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union participated as well as diplomatic representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Latvia, Russia and Iran.
The conference took place before the scheduled withdrawal of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan in 2014. It discussed proposals to stabilise conditions there, economic recovery and humanitarian aid after the ISAF withdrawal.
Participants in the conference emphasized the importance of the international community’s efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and to promote its socio-economic development. Despite individual differences in approaches and assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, as well as forecasts of its future development, the participants of the conference agreed that the Afghan conflict lacked a military solution.
Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Astana Sohrab Ali Saffary addressed the conference and emphasized Kazakhstan’s important role in the economic recovery of his country. The key to resolving it remained in the hands of the Afghan people and government, Ambassador Saffary said.
A part of the so called Istanbul process, a third International Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan entitled “Heart of Asia” will be held in Almaty on April 26. It will explore issues of regional security and stability and initiatives to promote stabilization, political and economic recovery of Afghanistan.
Around 50 different delegations from countries and international organisations are expected to participate.
The author is chief research fellow of the Institute of Statehood, Security and Development at The Nazarbayev Center.