Today, Kazakhstan will bring together top diplomats as it chairs a debate on countering narcotics and terrorism in Afghanistan at the UN Security Council today.
As president of the council for January, Kazakhstan has taken a keen interest in countering the threat posed by the Taliban and ISIS in Northern Afghanistan. Emphasising development, not just security, Astana has advocated ‘a more comprehensive approach’ towards the conflict.
Undoubtedly, the two are linked. Strengthening Afghanistan’s regional trade ties with the growing economy of India and the EU gateway nation of Azerbaijan will help draw the country away from the lucrative opium trade. Narcotics trade increased 87% last year and helps fund an estimated 40% of the Taliban’s activities; the group controls or contests almost half of Afghan territory.
Kazakhstan’s UN chief, Kairat Umarov, has already achieved a modicum of success, convincing Council members to visit Kabul this week—the first such trip by all 15 members in seven years. With broad support among the Security Council, Mr Umarov will be hoping to craft a statement that opens the door for more funding to the $183 million UN mission in Afghanistan.