14 Sep 2022 21:55

No Afghanistan representatives to attend SCO summit

SAMARKAND. Sept 14 (Interfax) - There will be no delegation representing Afghanistan participating the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan's Samarkand on September 15-16, as the SCO is not maintaining official ties with that country, Rahmatulla Nurimbetov, Uzbekistan's national coordinator at the SCO, told journalists on Wednesday.

"Afghanistan will not be represented at the summit in Samarkand. The SCO is temporarily not maintaining ties with that country," Nurimbetov said.

Afghanistan holds observer status in the SCO, Nurimbetov said. The organization had maintained links with Afghanistan's previous government, but those contacts were halted when the Taliban (banned in Russia) came to power there.

Founded in 2001, the SCO comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Pakistan and India. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are observers, and Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka are partners.

Uzbekistan is presiding over the SCO in 2021-2022.

The SCO initiated the procedures for admitting Iran to the organization and granting dialogue partner status to Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia at its summit in Dushanbe in 2021. This year, Belarus has officially applied to join the SCO as a full member.