Shanghai Cooperation Organization states to conduct counterterrorism drills in Pakistan

Pakistan will host the eight-member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for four-day anti-terrorism drills beginning today. Established in

Photo: DNA India

Pakistan will host the eight-member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for four-day anti-terrorism drills beginning today.

Established in 2001, the security-focused group comprises China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four other Afghanistan-bordering central Asian republics as full members. The meeting comes in the shadow of the Taliban’s August takeover of Afghanistan.

Despite ongoing tensions with China and Pakistan, India will participate, indicating heightened uncertainty and concern at the prospect of Afghanistan’s instability emboldening various terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda and ISIS-K.

The SCO has emphasized socio-economic investment as its major security goal in Afghanistan in the past. India epitomized this strategy independently of the SCO with a myriad of Indian-backed Afghanistan economic projects in the past decade—including constructing Kabul’s parliament building. India will likely now view Taliban-run Afghanistan with suspicion, given the group’s traditionally close ties with Pakistan. Indeed, India still does not recognize the Taliban government. On the contrary, China and Pakistan are almost certain to engage with Kabul on various projects.

Expect intelligence-sharing to headline SCO cooperation this week. However, further cooperation among SCO-members—especially Pakistan, China and India—towards a common anti-terrorism and security strategy for Afghanistan is highly unlikely in the short-to-medium term.

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