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Afghanistan and Cooperation for Development Shape Discussion at Vladivostok Eastern Economic Forum

Sept. 4, 2021 (EIRNS)—With the urgent task of organizing a solution to the Afghanistan crisis in the forefront of the mind of most participants, the annual Vladivostok Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) concluded three days of presentations and discussions today, which largely centered on different aspects of economic cooperation to bring peace and stability to the region. Ironically, it was Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid who stated the required approach most clearly in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica:

“China is our principal partner and for us represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity because it’s ready to invest in and reconstruct our country. We hold in high regard the One Belt One Road project that will serve to revive the ancient Silk Road. Beyond that, we have rich copper mines which thanks to the Chinese can be brought back into production and modernized. China represents our passport towards the markets of the whole world.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, as host of the EEF, played a leading role in focusing the discussion at Vladivostok. TASS reported that, on the subject of Afghanistan, Putin stated: “The reality is that the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia—TASS) now controls almost all of Afghanistan. So, we should be guided by reality.” He said that the country’s disintegration is what poses the main threat to Moscow:

“Russia is not interested in a disintegrated Afghanistan. If it happens, there will be no one to talk with,” Putin noted. He added that the Afghan situation “is a disaster because the Americans, who are very pragmatic people, spent over $1.5 trillion on this campaign, and what’s the result? And if we look at the number of people left in Afghanistan, who used to work for the collective West, the United States and its allies, then it will be clear that it is a humanitarian disaster, too.... As for Afghanistan, they say: we got there and made a lot of mistakes. However, the same process continues in relation to other countries. What are sanctions? They are a continuation of the same policy aimed at imposing their standards.” Putin added that he hoped that Western countries “will realize that acting like before and trying to civilize other nations is a failed policy.”

Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche also stressed, in comments today, that the Afghanistan crisis has put on display the fact that the entire neo-liberal paradigm is dead, and must be replaced by a new order of peace through development. If the era of perpetual wars is indeed to end, as President Biden has promised, then all sanctions—which are only a tool of regime-change assaults on nations—must immediately be lifted, including the deadly Caesar sanctions targeting Syria. Europe and the United States must instead join China and other Belt and Road nations in the urgent task of rebuilding Afghanistan, starting with critical health care and food requirements needed to avoid looming famine in the country.

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