Khudoberdi Kholiqnazar: RATS makes advances in fighting terrorism

Combating extremism, separatism and terrorism is a key point in the cooperation of the SCO member states, which has made great advances in providing regional security in the past ten years, Khudoberdi Kholiqnazar, Director of the Centre for Strategic Research under the President of Tajikistan, said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency.

Upon establishing the SCO's Regional Antiterrorist Structure (RATS) in 2004, it has made great advances, preventing some 1,000 terrorist attacks and arresting around 650 terrorists, Kholiqnazar said. Also, many extremist organisations banned in SCO member states were fully eliminated, he said. RATS has based its actions on combating such organisations and eliminating them at an early stage to prevent their development and expansion.

RATS is very important for the SCO, Kholiqnazar said, given the current dramatic upsurge in various extremist and terrorist ideologies, which has necessarily been affected by the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. "All this will give even greater importance to RATS functions. I think this issue is worthy of discussion, and is very topical today," he said.

As regards Afghanistan, according to Kholiqnazar, since the SCO's establishment its member states have paid particular attention to resolving problems in this region. All SCO declarations in this regard have one common idea: Afghanistan must be free from other countries' influence. If the country becomes independent again and refuses the presence of foreign troops, all SCO states will provide their support for its economic development, Kholiqnazar said.