Dushanbe: – Members of the CSTO have refused to deploy US and NATO troops or other military personnel withdrawing from Afghanistan. At the same time, the CSTO also said that Afghan citizens rescued by the US and NATO forces would not be granted asylum. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a group formed by a Russian initiative and includes Central Asian countries.
A separate meeting of the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the CSTO member countries was held in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. It is learned that the decision regarding Afghanistan was taken at this meeting of the foreign ministers. CSTO said in a statement, ‘The US and other NATO member states withdrawing troops and equipment from Afghanistan will not be deployed in CSTO countries. At the same time, Afghan nationals assisting foreign forces in Afghanistan will not be granted asylum.’
The statement also said that citizens fleeing Afghanistan would be sheltered only from a humanitarian standpoint. It also called on the Taliban to abide by all its promises after taking control of Afghanistan last month. The CSTO member states have a role to play in initiating an internal peace process in Afghanistan and have called on ethnic groups to avoid conflict.
Meanwhile, a meeting of CSTO member states also decided to increase security along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border, given the growing threat posed by terrorism under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Additional units will be deployed to counter the threat of terrorism, drug trafficking and refugee influx, the CSTO said. The CSTO includes Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus.
The withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan has drawn strong international criticism. Despite claims by these countries that the withdrawal was complete, thousands of citizens who assisted the US and NATO forces are still believed to be stranded in Afghanistan. The United States and European countries had indicated that they would seek help from countries bordering Afghanistan for their safe passage. However, the refusal of the CSTO countries to do so is likely to embarrass the US and NATO further.