On 5 March, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov met with Afghan Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs Mohammad Hashim Aurtaq on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna.
They exchanged views on current developments in Afghanistan and opportunities for promoting cooperation between the SCO and Kabul in combatting drug trafficking.
Vladimir Norov said that an expeditious peace settlement in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is one of the most important factors in maintaining and enhancing security and stability in the SCO space. SCO member states support the efforts of the Afghan government and people aimed at restoring peace, ensuring the country's economic development and countering terrorism, extremism and drug-related crime.
The Secretary-General gave a detailed update on progress in implementing the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy and its Programme of Action for 2018-2023, and invited Kabul officials to take part in the activities set out in these documents.
In his turn, Mohammad Hashim Aurtaq said that the Afghan authorities were firmly committed to fighting against the drug threat in Afghanistan. He stressed that SCO member states and Afghanistan must pool their efforts to prevent the diversion of precursors — chemical substances used for drug production.
Vladimir Norov and Mohammad Hashim Aurtaq touched on cooperation in implementing the Road Map for further action by the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. The parties focused on such issues as information exchange, training of skilled personnel, preventive measures and joint operations to stop trafficking in drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.
They agreed to continue their working contacts.