The meeting was attended by National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of India Ajit Kumar Doval, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Shamkhani, Presidential Aide and Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan Gizat Nurdauletov, Secretary of the Security Council of the Kyrgyz Republic Marat Imankulov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Russian Federation Zhang Hanhui, Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Tajikistan Nasrullo Mahmudzoda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to the Russian Federation Batyr Niyazliyev, Secretary of the Security Council under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Viktor Makhmudov, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev, and Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Yury Ushakov.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues,
I am very happy to see you all.
I know that this meeting has become a tradition and is devoted to a very important issue – the situation in Afghanistan. Obviously, there is a lot of potential for conflict in the world today. There are many conflicts here, not far from Russia, including on the Ukrainian track. We are well aware and we realise this perfectly well, but this does not reduce the significance of the situation in Afghanistan. This has always been important for us and now it is important more than ever because we do not want more points of tension on our southern borders.
Unfortunately, since the American armed forces fled Afghanistan, the situation has not improved. International terrorist organisations are stepping up their activities, including al-Qaeda which is building up its potential. You know this very well.
We are also worried about attempts to use the situation in Afghanistan to allow extra-regional forces to expand or build their infrastructure. These countries will create this under the pretext of countering international terrorism, but they are not doing anything that is really necessary in the real counterterrorism struggle.
Obviously, the situation in the country is not improving and we see this. The humanitarian situation is worsening. Millions of people – about 4 million people according to our information – are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Drug trafficking is on the rise, and unfortunately, the fields are growing, too. I think 80 percent of opiates in the world market are from Afghanistan.
The situation is very complicated, but we are doing all we can to find solutions. We have contacted the country’s leaders in Kabul. We know there are plans to implement large economic projects that could stabilise the situation in the economy.
Nevertheless, it goes without saying that it is very important for me to listen to your position, your viewpoint because you are exactly the people that are professionally dealing with such issues, including Afghanistan.
I would like to thank you for coming to Russia to meet your colleagues, exchange plans, and wherever possible, coordinate these plans in this very important area of cooperation.
Again, thank you very much.