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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is planning to hold a conference
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is planning to hold a conference on the situation in Afghanistan in Moscow on March 27, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

A statement said the meeting would discuss the "situation in Afghanistan and its influence on neighboring states, boosting joint efforts by the international community to counteract terrorism, illegal drug trade and trans-border organized crime from Afghan territory."

Last year saw the radical Islamic Taliban movement, ousted from power by a U.S.-led operation in 2001, drastically step up attacks, with the south of the war-ravaged country affected the most.

The SCO regional security group comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Russia took over the presidency of the organization last August. Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has sent invitations to the meeting to his counterparts in the SCO member-states and countries with observer status, as well as leaders of other international organizations, including the United Nations.

Preparations for the event were discussed on February 17-18 at the meeting of a working group of SCO experts in Moscow.


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