Strategic Context of Regional Cooperation

Situated at the crossroad of Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan has a unique geo-strategic location to promote regional cooperation not only in its surrounding regions, but also beyond. After decades of instability, Afghanistan now has a unique opportunity to realize its potential as a “land bridge” between the mentioned regions to facilitate the flow of goods, energy and people; thus paving the road for regionalism built on mutual respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity. 
 
Enshrined in Article Eight of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, our Foreign Policy is based on "preserving the independence, national interests and territorial integrity as well as non-interference, good neighborliness, mutual respect and equality of rights".  Regional cooperation makes one of the most important pillars and priority areas of the foreign policy of the Government of Afghanistan. Both the 2006 Afghanistan Compact and the 2007 Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) emphasize the importance of regional cooperation as one of the main priorities of the Government of Afghanistan. This policy is well reflected in the speech of H.E. President Karzai at the 14th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) where he firmly stated that “enhanced regional cooperation must be pursued for the sake of regional economic and political stability.” 
 
The potential role of Afghanistan in promoting regional cooperation has also been recognized by countries in the region through various declarations, including the 2002 Good Neighborly Relations Declaration, the 2003 Dubai Declaration, the 2003 Berlin Agreement, the 2004 Bishkek Conference, the 2005 Kabul Conference, and the 2006 Delhi Conference.
 
Our regional cooperation policy is based on achieving following objectives: 
 
Expand and deepens cooperation, and enhance the level of confidence among regional states in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders from the regional states, regional organizations, and regional multilateral frameworks. 
 
Strengthen Afghanistan’s position in regional political, economic, social, and cultural exchanges and discourses through regional organizations and multilateral frameworks.     
 
Identify the full range of existing regional imitative within the framework of regional organizations and multilateral processes, which have a bearing on Afghanistan. 
 
Take necessary steps towards deepening confidence between regional states as a means of improving and strengthening regional cooperation and integration.