(The Kabul Times): Addressing the “The United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations said Cooperation to promote peace, security and stability; preventing the linking of terrorism with organized crime and its financing through drug trafficking” Afghanistan views the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an important and influential regional platform that brings together various nations with much to share in terms of security, economic integration, culture and human capital. Despite the specter of global uncertainty, the SCO member states have reasons for celebration and optimism, with adherence to the Shanghai spirit, because it has not only overcome inherited problems, but also created a platform for the historic transformation of Euro-Asia into a continental economy, Raz said. According to her, deepening ties between the SCO, UN, and its specialized agencies is an important step in enhancing practical cooperation and continuing to achieve sustainable and meaningful change. She went on saying that Afghanistan understands all too well the devastating and destabilizing impact of terrorism. As a frontline state, we bear the bulk of the burden in the fight against terrorism and extremism. Terrorist groups threaten our people’s safety and our country’s security and prosperity. The fight against terrorism and organized crimes is a challenging battle, which requires focused efforts. According to Raz, Afghanistan sees a direct link between terrorism and financing terrorist via drug-trafficking, and which is why there is such a strong link between counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics strategy. Recently we have merged counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism strategies. Security forces have carried out countless operations to recover facilities and neutralize threats. She went on to say that the fight against narcotics is as challenging as the fight against terrorism. “The Government of Afghanistan has been genuine and committed in efforts to overcome the challenges posed by narcotics and terrorism. The people of Afghanistan continue to pay the highest price and we cannot allow these injustices to continue. We must acknowledge the complexity of the problem and develop a comprehensive strategy against narco-financing at the regional and global level to dismantle the supply chain of narcotics and eliminate narco-trafficking operations.” Afghan envoy said that none of the issues discussed today are single-country issues, adding the challenges presented by terrorism and the related organized crime and drug trafficking need a concerted approach by the international community, particularly as it pertains to the trafficking of drugs and illicit goods. Afghanistan embraces the continued collective efforts of the SCO to tackle these challenges. “We strongly believe that peace and security are necessary precursors for development and that eliminating terrorism is the key for stability in our region. Therefore; SCO’s approach in creating greater regional collaboration and coordination is valued by Afghanistan,” she added. Now that Afghanistan is reaching an important stage in our efforts towards peace with the Taliban, we must all acknowledge these illicit activities are a large portion of financing the Taliban’s destructive activities and address this issue at the negotiating table, according to her. “That is why Afghanistan values the SCO’s active participation in our journey of having a comprehensive regional counter narcotic and counter terrorism strategy because the two are deeply interconnected. We also see a great potential for collaboration between the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process and the SCO. As a country that strongly believes in regional cooperation and taking innovative and practical steps, Afghanistan has proven to be an important ally and partner of SCO in helping our region enjoy greater collaboration.”Concluding her remarks, Raz said Afghanistan is strongly committed to working closely with the SCO on key issues and deeply appreciates the region’s commitment to peace and prosperity. We will continue to be a supportive and active partner, and we look forward to becoming a key member of this organization in the future.