19:42 GMT28 May 2020
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    The member states of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan call upon states that have welcomed the Afghan refugees not to send them home until there conditions are restored for their safe and successful social reintegration in Afghanistan, the joint declaration adopted on Sunday said.

    AMRITSAR (Sputnik) The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process regional conference, which India volunteered to host in 2016, is a 14-member platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbors. The latest conference started on Saturday in the Indian city of Amritsar.

    "We commend countries in the region and beyond, particularly Iran and Pakistan, for their hospitality in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades. We call on all these countries to continue hosting the Afghan refugees until their sustainable repatriation and reintegration in Afghanistan can take place in a voluntary, safe, gradual and dignified fashion, in accordance with the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Communities," the document read.

    The states expressed concern over the recent spike of Afghan refugee returns and the challenges that this influx may present for those returning home.

    The issue of repatriation of Afghan refugees, many of whom are residing in neighboring Iran and Pakistan, arose earlier this year, after the Pakistani authorities deported undocumented Afghans who had not received official refugee status or whose temporary asylym application had expired.

    The sides also addressed the issue of terrorism and radicalization, as during the last year's Heart of Asia conference, the sides agrees to develop a strategy to counter terrorism.

    "Recognizing once again that terrorism, violent extremism, radicalization, separatism, and sectarianism and linkages among them are the gravest challenges that the Heart of Asia region and the rest of the international community face, and these problems would continue to pose a severe threat to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, economic development and bilateral and regional cooperation, we renew our strong commitment to strengthening comprehensive cooperation among the Heart of Asia countries and intensify our efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations through solidarity and collective action," the declaration read.

    The sides named other issues of prior interest, including sticking to the regional cooperation, which is due to be advanced as an effective means to address common challenges. The Hear of Asia states also pledged to promote security, stability and socio-economic development in the region.

    Afghanistan is experiencing political, social and security instability, in particular, due to the activity of the Taliban militant group. The crisis ion the country prompted the emergence of local cells of other extremist organizations such as Islamic State (IS), which is banned in many countries, including Russia.


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