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Afghanistan Agenda in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

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On December 29,2021, Saudi Arabia invited Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to hold a meeting relating to the subject, considering the fact that the Afghanistan-centered developments are closely related to the Islamic World. In this context, in the statements made by Saudi Press Service, it is said,  “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has called on the OIC countries to hold an extraordinary ministerial meeting to discus humanitarian stuation in Afghanistan the steps to be taken.”[1]

Undoubtly, this initiation is a natural consequence of the Riyadh administration’s desire to be influential in the future of Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia, which was one of the few states that recognized the Taliban during its first term, athough it had various problems with the Taliban since 1998, due to the fact that Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, was not extradited to them; nevertheless, the policy in this term was derived from Riyad’s desire for working with the international community and especially with his main ally, Washington.

As for now, the withdrawal of the United States of America (USA) from Afghanistan has been completed. Thus, a new geopolitical reality is in question. Furthermore, the administrastion of Washington was planned the process of withdrawal in accordance with the  Doha Agreement; in a sense, within the framework of the negotiations of which it made with the Taliban. It is known that the USA has already made various contacts with the organization in question. In this environment, Riyadh also does not want to be left out of the developments in Afghanistan and is preparing to open a new page in its relations with the Taliban. This is why Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan’s visit to Kabul has taken place, and after the aforementioned visit, the OIC’s organizing an extraordinary summit has come to the fore.

Pakistan, which will host the meeting, gave the first positive response to Saudi Arabia’s call. Although it does not recognize the Taliban administration yet, the Islamabad administration, which makes active efforts to promote the Taliban and organizes various conferences for this purpose, has announced that it wants to host the OIC Summit as well. As a matter of fact, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi stated that they welcomed Riyadh’s proposal to hold an emergency foreign ministers meeting to review the situation in Afghanistan and assist the country.[2]

It is necessary to state that the initiation of Saudi Arabia has the aim of leading the stance atopted by Islamic World against the Afghan Problem. In other words, the Riyadh administration, which has the desire to be the leader of the Islamic World in its foreign policy, wants to instrumentalize the Afghan Problem in this context and to achieve maximum gain in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Pakistan is trying to keep the initiative in its own hands in the Afghan Question.

As it is known, the majority of the Taliban members received religious education in Diobendi madrasahs of Pakistani origin. For this reason, it is claimed that Pakistan is the main actor that can draw the Taliban to the ground of international cooperation. In the current situation, it can be said that the OIC countries want to use the aforementioned position of Islamabad and accept Pakistan as the host in order to produce a constructive solution to the Afghan Problem. This is because, in his statement on 4 December 2021, Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi announced that the meeting in question will be held in Islamabad on 19 December 2021 and that a consensus has been reached on this issue.[3]

The fact that the summit, which was brought to the agenda with the suggestion of Riyadh, to be held in Islamabad indicates that the cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will develop in the face of the Afghan Problem. Although Pakistan’s expectations in the context of its efforts to strengthen its position in the Islamic World do not fully coincide with the interests of Saudi Arabia, the fact that the parties having the past relations with the Taliban makes this cooperation possible.

On the other hand, when we look at the OIC member countries; it is seen that the approaches of riparian states to Afghanistan, such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, are based on comprehensive cooperation by including Afghanistan in international projects. The strategies of these states are shaped by the desire to transform the country in question into a country where investments can be made. This is because, the states of the region are developing de facto cooperation with the Taliban and believe that this is the way to peace and prosperity. Meaning that Riyadh and Islamabad are not alone in the idea that a strategy to isolate Afghanistan from the international community would have devastating effects. Without any doubt, pushing the Taliban out of regional processes will aggravate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, make the desired aid difficult, cause an increase in radicalization in the country in question, and this will accelerate the migration movement.

The solution of the problem is the delivery of humanitarian aid to this country. This situation will transform Afghanistan into a humanely livable country and curb radicalization. This will mean that the main reasons that cause people to migrate will disappear. Therefore, the OIC Summit is a positive step and a good start for the Islamic World in the face of the Afghan Problem. However, it is not possible to say that a concrete result will emerge from the summit. In this context, it is noteworthy that member states such as Tajikistan and Iran, which are distant to the Taliban, have various concerns about Afghanistan-based developments, and are therefore in search of new ones, need to adopt an attitude that will contribute to the process. Of course, diplomacy to be carried out towards this goal will also make a great contribution to regional and global peace.


[1] “Saudi Arabia to Convene Extraordinary OIC Meeting to Discuss Afghanistan”, Saudi Gazetta, https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/614141, (Date of Accession: 29.11.2021).

[2] “پاکستان: آماده میزبانی نشست کشورهای اسلامی درباره افغانستان هستیم”, IRNA, https://shortest.link/1W10, (Date of Accession: 30.11.2021).

[3] “Pakistan to Host OIC-Led International Meeting on Afghanistan”, Voice of Amerika, https://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-to-host-oic-led-international-meeting-on-afghanistan/6339510.html, (Date of Accession: 07.12.2021).

Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN
Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN, 2014 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2017 yılında Giresun Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası Güç İlişkileri Bağlamında İkinci Dünya Savaşı Sonrası Hegemonik Mücadelelerin İncelenmesi’’ başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora derecesini ise 2021 yılında Trakya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı‘nda hazırladığı “İmparatorluk Düşüncesinin İran Dış Politikasına Yansımaları ve Milliyetçilik” başlıklı teziyle alan Başaran’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Uluslararası ilişkiler kuramları, Amerikan dış politikası, İran araştırmaları ve Afganistan çalışmalarıdır. Başaran iyi derecede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde Farsça bilmektedir.