Terrorism in all its forms became a main and endemic threat to global security in the twenty-first century.
International experience in security has shown that any actions and efforts taken at the national level missed the fire.
One of the reasons of this is that the extremism, terrorism and separatism are cross-border problems and not closed within one state. Unlike other phenomena, terrorism is highly restorable and can mutate, and, usually can take a more dangerous form after persecuting from the state. Thus, control of terrorism appears to be control of epidemics and, accordingly is aimed at elimination of terrorism areas. Thereby solidarity of international community is required in fight against terrorism in its all forms.
The main destabilizing factor for the security in Central Asia from the first days of obtaining sovereignty by its satellites is the neighborhood with Afghanistan. Such neighborhood smoothed the way for, and transmuted Central Asia region into a transit corridor of the flow of weapons, drugs between East and West. Along with that, religious extremism mostly external and from outside began to grow.
As is known, the Shanghai cooperation organization (SCO) was organised in 2001 for the development of economic and humanitarian cooperation of six countries: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Along with the economic problems there emerged a necessity to tackle non-economic cross border threats in the region — mainly re
lated to terrorism. A comprehensive approach to these problems revealed relevancy of o formation of the specialized institutions in the SCO framework of for addressing these problems. Although the economic issues is the core reason of interaction in the SCO, protection against terrorism, extremism and separatism became very urgent. The organization made a good progress in this particular direction and took certain steps and measures such as combined exercises that allows to say that SCO has its own potential, in the field of regional security.
The views of international community as to the current activity and existence of the SCO are ambivalent, though they are eventually coming to understanding that the organization itself is not anti-American and anti-Western. Such defi
nitions as "anti-bush coalition" that were being used before eventually have not transformed into "anti-obama coalition." Any arguments for "Anti-Western nature of the SCO" are also unreasonable due to the fact that each country member of the SCO is successfully developing bilateral relations with the western countries.
Perhaps a perusal of "the SCO Charter" and subsequent documents, and mainly examining of real activity of the SCO proved for Western analysts the absolutely peaceful character of the organization. Neither documents of the SCO contains any negative mentioning of of the USA and Western countries, and its structures, although the expansion of the SCO by accepting in membership two nuclear powers — Pakistan and India and the strong regional leadership — Iran is considered by the West as one of the major threats.
Another cause of concern" in the West is military exercises conducted by the SCO member countries. British newspaper the Daily Telegraph called the Shanghai cooperation the second Warsaw Pact organization , while the newspaper New York Times commented as to the exercises saying that, it is the desire of Russia and China to establish control over energy resources in Central Asia . The German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung saw the exercises as a desire "to create a center of influence independent from the West" . Similar state ments were made by the French Le Figaro, German Die Tageszeitung and the Japanese Yomi- uri [4, 5]. However, it is worth-mentioning that
these exercises are merely combating of terrorism, e.g. the exercises on August 29, 2014, that were held at the shooting field Tchzhuzhikhe in
China. Prior to the beginning of the exercises, a legend of doctrines was announced: "Interethnic contradictions exacerbated in a conventional city and it led to the political destabilization and the growth of terrorist activity. As per the request of the government and after getting the mandate of the UN security Council the SCO countries decided to provide conditional aid to the conventional state". That is, these exercises are anti-terrorist. There is a very important detail in this legend — the mandate of the UN security Council. This fact demonstrates again the peaceful nature of the SCO and its focus on solely domestic problems.
It goes without saying that the membership of Russia and China in the SCO makes the organization ambitious in the eyes of the world community in context of geopolitics. However, membership of such countries as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan should
be noted too as this membership, in the SCO designates their intention to assure national an- dregional security in all important aspects inter alia economy and protection againstterror- ism and extremism. Having such neighbour as Afghanistan, a serious source of threat, these Central Asian satellites accordingly attempt to access the systems that can ensure national and regional security.
Anti-terrorist activity of the SCO became very actual recently on reason of latest events stemmed from the activities of the Islamic state of Iraq and Libya (ISIL) — an extremely radical Islamist group controlling a significant area of
Syria and Iraq. This group published a map of its future state in five years’ time in internet (Fig. 1).
This map proves the intention of this group to invade all petroleous areas of the Middle East, however, some view this a a provocation. The mere idea of uniting Arabs, Indians, Africans, etc. under one flag seems absurd and impossible.
Nevertheless, if one assumes that this is a well- planned intentions, this documents appear to be a serious warning to all mankind and the Central Asian States, taking into account that leaders of the ISIL have already announced their intentions. If the ISIL carries out its intentions even partially, it will raise huge problems in the region. In any case, the group perseveres in intention to invade the Central Asia. As it can be seen on the map the ISIL does not lay a claim to the territory of the Republicthoaf tK thaezaIkShILstains ,m buct hit misorieg dhat nugpertouosu trh borders fraonmd atrhee tSryoiuntgh taon pdr ietv ceonnt ctehren rse ucsru. itment
Today unsettling news are coming from the reiongs close to the Central Asian, e.g.the Ministry of Natdional Seercedursityad oisfo Al zeerbpaoisjsan retpy orite ad
on detentuTiounrk omgf e2n6uistpaeno mplae t jhoaitn wtheerv eviacciocuusseideoofl membership ofS momileitapryrobtryloeompss coafn thrieseISiInL Kaanzda other illetghaolu smanilditsaroyf gKroauzpaks.h sAtazneirbcaitiijzaenn sis w bheo-
yond the aarere faigohftirnegspon stihbeilistiydeofofthteheSCISOIL, bmuitl it boundasrtiaebsilwityithofK tahzea skthasteta. nT, hReruessiisa aa gnrdeaIrt arnis, and it creeantegsagae d iann sguebr voefrstrivane saitcttiinvgititersroinrisKmaztaok the Centrsatla Ates"iat.hreaten even Russia with their
There siesntaimdaengtserartehastroi ngA. fghanistan part of the Taliban groups can follow the banner of the ISIL. MoreoverA, natfit-etre rcroarliistti oanc ttirvoitoieps owf itthed rSaCwO from Afghanistan various terrorist organizations can enter the opHeirsattoiorincalllsypathce . STChOe ssetcaurtreitdy iftos races found1 i9n97P.akTihseta mn, aiin tihsesupersovoifn tchee o Sf hKahnygbheari - Pakhtunkahgwreaemboeonktsleotsn isstsreunegdthbeynitnhge oIfS cILon afindde titled "Fabtoerkdhe"r (avrimcteodrys)e. rvIniceths easne db tohoekrleetes mtehreg ideologues of the ISIL ask to support their plans and business. The Pakistan authorities believe that the ISIL is much more dangerous than the terrorist organization al “al-Qaeda” and are trying to prevent the recruitment of the population.
There is also the possibility that members of the underground and semi-underground radical movements in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan may join the vicious ide
ology of this group.
Some problems can rise in Kazakhstan too. It is being reported that few thousands of Kazakhstani citizens who were influenced by various
religious sects, were fighting on the side of the
ISIL militants . Their return could threaten the
s tahbeiltietryrorfistht eorsgtatnei.z Tathieorne aisl a“aglr-eQaat erdisak” that they s tthueffpeodp wuiltahtioalni.en ideology can engage in subversive activities in Kazakhstan. The representatives of the "Islamic state" threaten even Russia with tbehemekiris ectraasnmo paTiganjeikinuis ntthaenerr gergKoiournns wzashntearnes Iesamlnadm- ic senti- ym oefn tshiasr ,egrsotruopng. , y gy
stan too. It is being reported that few
ere Ainnfltiu-etenrcreodr ibsyt avcatriivoituise sr eolfig tihoeu sS sCeOct:s the evo- alnuttsi o[n7 ]o. fT thei lra rtetsut rtnh rceoautsld threaten the that they stuffed with alien ideology can stanH. Tishtoe rriecparlelysentthaetivSesCOof tshtear"tIesdlamitisc activity afmropmaigthne in"S thhaengrehgaiionFsivwe"heirne 1I9s9la6m-1ic997. The main issues of the Shanghai meeting at the initial stage were signing of agreements on tshtree envgotlhuetnioing o fo tfh ec olantfiedste tnhcree aitns sphere of de
fense and reduction of border armed services vaintdy tfhroemre tehme e"rSgheadnga hnaei cFeisvsei"ty into 1 d9e9a6l- with the emtinegrgaet dthcer ionsisti-ablo srtdaegre nwoenre- msiiglintianrgy otfhreats in eth ien rsepghieorne omf adienfleynseecoandomreidcaulc,ticornimofinal, mi- graatnieocnesasnidty e tnovidreoanlm weinthtalt.he emerged
Currently the organization activity is focused at three areas: economic, the security and humanitarian cooperation. The areas are different in borders and the level of sufficiency, each area
is quite different from others and is specific. At the moment the security issues are the most actual, thereby security appeared to be the main reason for the creation of the SCO. In 2001, factually at the time of the SCO creation and Charter signing, the Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism (inter alia a religious one) was signed, providing clear definitions of relevant terms aimed at the devel opment of practical cooperation between law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies in combating these problems . On June 7, 2002 the Shanghai member countries signed the Agreement on Regional Anti-terrorist Structure , and subsequently established in 2004 a Regional Anti-terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO. The Executive Committee of this structure is located in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). The RATS follows order of meetings of the Security Council Secretaries of the SCO member countries and consists of two bodies: the Executive Committee of the RATS and the Council of the RATS. The Executive Committee of the RATS is a permanent body, and the Council of the RATS is convened twice a year.
The RATS Executive Committee, its main body, should focus on three goals: coordinating the fight against terrorism, extremism and sepa
ratism; information-analytical maintenance of activity of the competent bodies of the parties and international legal activities.
The RATS Council informed on signing of Agreement on Databank of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure and the Agreement on Protection of the Secret Information at the 10th Summit in Astana in 2005 in order to ensure enforceability of the SCO RATS.
The understanding of close links between terrorism and drug trafficking prompted to sign the SCO Agreement on cooperation in combating illicit trafficking of drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors. In 2002 the SCO considered useful to create anti-drug system — security belts along the perimeter of Afghanistan's borders. Up to 65% of drugs produced in Afghanistan are driven to Central Asia, Russia and European countries. Nearly a third of them are settled in the Central Asian region . Specifically in order to combat this scourge, in 2004 at the Tashkent Council of the heads of member States of the SCO there was adopted a decision on creation of coordination Council of Afghanistan — SCO for the implementation of the efforts to control borders and combat drug trafficking. Currently
the establishment of a permanent authority structure for the joint fight against drug similar to RATS is being discussed on the forums of the various structures of the SCO.
The penetration of the ISIL in Central Asia poses before the RATS a daunting task. In 2015 this structure will need to respond quickly to developments in its southern surroundings and to take adequate measures to ensure security in the SCO zone.
At the SCO summit in 2014 in Dushanbe the report of the work of the Regional anti-terrorist structure of the SCO was endorsed and approved for the period of 2013. According to the report of the RATS a large number of terrorist acts on the territory of six countries were prevented while the activities of the organization and its information. In the framework of creating a common data Bank on terrorism a single "list of persons put on the international wanted list in connection with the crimes of terrorist, separatist and extremist nature" was approved. On the basis of the list the formation of a Single search registry of security bodies and special services of States — SCO members is initiated. But the RATS is not the Asian analogue of the Interpol, it is responsible for coordination of competent authorities and enforcement authorities of the countries — SCO members.
Except the well-known manifestations of terrorism the RATS is involved in the relatively new problems of security. At the 25th meeting of the RATS on September 19, 2014 joint ac
tions of the competent authorities of the member countries of the SCO were reviewed and approved to ensure the security of transboundary oil and gas pipelines. The activities were agreed to detect and suppress the facts of use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. Also it was decided to connect the SCO RATS to the international databank on counteraction to terrorism.
The main task of the SCO is building an "axis of stability" in the Central Asia in opposition to the "axis of instability" in the middle East. Not having a clearly defined military com
ponent the organization is obliged, however, to pay increasing attention to security issues that mean involving the use of armed intervention.
In October 2002 China and Kyrgyzstan organized the first anti-terrorist exercises and in one
year multilateral exercises of the SCO countries members "Interaction-2003" were held in Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous
region. In March 2006 the RATS have held their first joint anti-terrorist exercises "East — Anti
terror-2006" on the territory of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan .
In 2007 the exercises "Peace mission — 2007" were held at the military Chebarkul training ground in Russia, then in 2010 in Kazakhstan "Peace mission – 2010", in 2012 in Tajikistan "Peace mission – 2012" and, finally,
on August 24-29, 2014 the largest military exercises in history the Shanghai cooperation organization were held in China. They were called "Peace mission — 2014". The official reason
for this was the planned withdrawal of troops of the Western Alliance from Afghanistan.
The question on the potential actions of the SCO remains open under adverse domestic political processes of the member countries of the organization, under threats of a violent regime change and destruction of the internal security in the SCO space. Within the organization it is necessary to defend the interpretation of concepts "extremism" and "separatism" to avoid repetition of the events in Bishkek, Andijan and
Ukraine. The causes of the events in Ukraine on the West and East are treated differently.
Activity patterns on combating terrorism by the SCO currently are closely linked to the work of the Organization of collective security Treaty (CSTO). This organization united at various times from six to nine States of Eurasia.
Currently the CSTO includes six countries:
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Belarus. Georgia, Azerbaijan and
Uzbekistan initially also entered this organization but in 1999 came out of it.
The CSTO and SCO RATS have already reached an agreement on the intensification of
joint work to combat terrorism and extrem
ism. CSTO Secretary General N. Bordyuzha and Director of the RATS Executive Committee Zhang Xinfeng (China) agreed about this in January 2014. Due to the fact that:
▪ Firstly, four countries — Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are members
of both organizations.
▪ Secondly, the CSTO has already established "rapid reaction forces" capable of performing the tasks of the SCO to combat terrorism.
Although Kazakhstan is situated qutie far from the dangerous regions of Afghanistan, in certain conditions, especially after withdrawal of Uzbekistan from the CSTO, it can become the southern border of the zone of relative stability in the Central Asian region .
The problems of Afghanistan in the SCO
Currently the center of conflict zones moved
out of Afghanistan much further to the West — to Syria and Iraq. However, this is not to say about reducing tension in and around Afghanistan. After the withdrawal of the coalition troops of NATO (the final withdrawal of troops
is delayed until the end of 2016) Afghanistan will be actually provided to itself, so the Afghan problem will not lose importance for CARS in the near future.
Afghanistan also has a direct relation to the SCO. The decision to grant Afghanistan an observer status at the SCO was signed by the leaders of the countries — members of SCO on June 7, 2012.
In October 2014, a small but significant event
emerged. In Tashkent in the headquarters of the RATS of the SCO the Afghan Ambassador to Uzbekistan Daudzai Mohammad Sadikom and the Director of the RATS Executive Commit-
tee Zhang Sinthan discussed the situation in Afghanistan. During the meeting, the Ambassador has asked the SCO member countries to support the national security forces of Afghanistan in fight against terrorism . It can be viewed
as lack of hope on help of NATO and the USA in this matter in connection with the termination of the mission of the coalition forces and the interaction planning with the SCO.
The Shanghai cooperation organization is not distancing itself from Afghan problem. If the Western coalition is going to leave the country, the SCO is not going anywhere due to geographical neighborhood. The uncontrolled situation in the country is a big risk for the nearest neighbors because with a weak government the representatives of the Islamic state ISIL can reach Afghanistan. The country itself and the neighbors will get a lot of problems for many years.
During the whole period of functioning of the SCO the General approach to the solution of the Afghan problem was being formed. In 2005 a Protocol was signed establishing a Contact group of the SCO — Afghanistan. Uzbekistan had offered to resolve the Afghan problem with the so-called formula "6+3" which is referring to the participation of the six immediate neighbors of Afghanistan, as well of Russia, USA and NATO in solving the problems. However, in this formula there are no Afghan government and opposition forces (the Taliban) that are the direct parties to the conflict. The formula "7+5" announced at the UN in the establishment of a contact group for resolving the problems of Afghanistan seems to be more adequate. The "seven" in this formula includes Afghanistan and India, and the "five" — the SCO and the
CSTO. But this format is complicated by the confrontation between Iran and the USA as well as possible differences between Pakistan and India. In addition, the presence of Afghanistan in the "seven" was somewhat fuzzy, because it was unclear which political forces of Afghanistan will represent the country. The result will be zero without taking into account the opinions of all the opposing forces.
As regards the possible cooperation between
NATO and the SCO, it is a strong contradiction inherent in the status of these organizations. NATO is a purely military bloc; the SCO is not a military organization. The SCO is not going to be present in Afghanistan as any military contingent. However, at the summit in January 2011 the member States of the SCO has stated their readiness for cooperation with NATO for special projects relating the security on the borders of Afghanistan. The specifics of this col
laboration have not determined yet. According to some experts the prospects are vague due to "the lack of mutual trust between those entities" . Others believe that cooperation between
the SCO and NATO could go through the line of Iran that has perhaps the greatest influence on Afghanistan .
In March 2009 a detailed action Plan of member States of the Shanghai cooperation organization and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on combating terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and organized crime was formed in
the SCO . The situation may worsen after
the withdrawal of the coalition troops and aspirations of different confronting parties of the country to power.
In this regard on March 28, 2014 at the meeting of the SCO RATS Council there was adopted a decision on protective measures against the terrorist threat emanating from Afghanistan in connection with withdrawal of the coalition forces from the country .
As you know in Afghanistan more than 80% of the state budget is international aid. The most universal means of bringing the country to the civilized rails are the country's economic development and international trade, and economic relations. This vector is also important for strengthening the Shanghai cooperation organization in Afghanistan that is contributed with the geographical position of the country giving the potential to become the transit flows of goods and resources. Afghanistan currently needs to restore the national economy. Other Central Asian countries are also interested in the same expanding their foreign trade at the southern borders. Only after strengthening of economic interaction the countries — SCO
members will get an opportunity for political consolidation in Afghanistan. The most important parts of economic cooperation for Afghanistan include exploration of energy resources and the establishment of telecommunication and transport infrastructure. These two components are able to give the first impetus to the economic development of the country. So far, all areas of infrastructure and trade in Central Asia were mainly driven to other sides from Afghanistan. Projects for the railway construc
tion from Termez to Torkham and for highways Almaty — Bishkek — Osh — Dushanbe — Kabul — Kandahar and then through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean are under consideration of Uzbekistan with participation of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan in this case will enhance its role as a transit state.
For Afghanistan the construction of the railway is a question not only economic but also largely technological. The problem is that the surrounding countries use three types of rail gauge:
- 1 435 mm. Iran (same as in China);
- 1 520 mm. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (Soviet gauge);
- 1 676 mm Pakistan (Indo-Pakistan gauge).
Thus, the technical choice of railway tracks and construction of railway infrastructure depend primarily on the politico-economic choice of a partner. Afghanistan, figuratively speaking,
has to decide which way its trains will go with.
Many States of the SCO have programs of assistance to Afghanistan on bilateral basis. The most active steps in this direction are made by China. The new head of the State of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, first officially visited China.
The strength of China in this matter in comparison with Russia and USA is that it has a reputation as a neutral player. China is quite capable to occupy the most significant place in a number
of countries that assist Afghanistan. China and Afghanistan have signed several agreements on expanding technical and commercial cooperation.
Kazakhstan also contributes to this issue. Kazakh-Afghan intergovernmental Commission (IGC) on trade and economic cooperation
plays an important role in the development of trade and economic relations. The structure of the bilateral legal base includes the Treaty on principles of relations and cooperation between RK and IRA, the intergovernmental agreements on trading-economic cooperation, on cooperation in the field of education, on cooperation in the fight against illicit traffic of drugs, psychotropic substances, their analogues and precursors and abuse, as well as the Protocol on establishing diplomatic relations.
To resolve the Afghan problem in the first place it is necessary to stabilize the situation and to have internal peace in the country. Perhaps it is the peaceful character of the SCO with its economic orientation can be an instrument for solving the Afghan problem.
It can be stated that not only the situation in Afghanistan is highly dependent on the steps of the SCO in the region, but also the future of the SCO largely depends on what it will do in Afghanistan. But finally the issue of reconciliation in the country can only be solved by Afghans themselves. History shows that Afghans are able to reach an agreement and has demonstrated that repeatedly. The most appropriate for Afghanistan is involvement of partners, particularly, the neighboring Central Asian States.
* * *
In recent years the unit of struggle for security in general and fight agaist terrorism in
particular have become the most priority sectors of cooperation in the SCO to achieve all other objectives of economic and humanitarian
nature. In view of the increasing terrorist threats in connection with events in the middle East, the relevance of the fight against terrorism and
extremism in the framework of the SCO has increased and today it the requires form the organization thoughtful steps to ensure safety in their area.
Readiness to fight the menace of terrorism is once again confirmed in the Dushanbe Declaration of the heads of member States of the SCO on September 12, 2014: "Member States called for the continuation active measures to combat terrorism, separatism, extremism, illicit
trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic sub stances and their precursors, transnational organized crime and in the field of ensuring interna
tional information security in the framework of the SCO. Member States have expressed their willingness to collaborate in the fight against
these challenges and threats together with interested countries, regional and international organizations and entities in both bilateral and multilateral format" .
In September 2014, Pakistan and India applied formally for membership in the SCO, Iran also claims to full membership in the organization. The application for observer status was submitted by Sri Lanka and Armenia. The status of "dialogue partner" of the SCO is at Belarus, Shri Lanka and Turkey. The prospect of the organization enlargement means expanding the scope of security in all areas including terro rism and the conceptualization of approaches to the security problems in the area of the SCO activity.
According to the experts "maintaining the character of the declaratory character of the SCO and further divergence between Chinese and Russian priorities can be a serious challenge in the emerging new environment of the second decade of its existence" . However, along with the rising tensions between major
actors many aspects can be observed that may serve as a real basis for Russian-Chinese sensible and latent rivalry but rather for further convergence on fundamental issues of world politics. Therefore, the geopolitical tensions in today's world can serve as an impetus for the further evolution of the SCO in all fields of activity and especially in the fight against terrorism.
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