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China-mooted counterterrorism alliance takes shape

Updated August 04, 2016
URUMQI: (From right) Qadam Shah Shahim of the Afghan National Army, Gen Fang Fengui of China, Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif and Maj Gen E.A. Cobidrzoda of Tajikistan pictured during a military exercise on Wednesday.
URUMQI: (From right) Qadam Shah Shahim of the Afghan National Army, Gen Fang Fengui of China, Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif and Maj Gen E.A. Cobidrzoda of Tajikistan pictured during a military exercise on Wednesday.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan formally unveiled their quadrilateral counterterrorism alliance on Wednesday.

The announcement about the new four-nation mechanism, known as the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism (QCCM) in counterterrorism, came as top commanders from the participating countries gathered in the Chinese city of Urumqi for the inaugural leadership meeting.

“The inaugural high-level meeting on Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in counterterrorism by Afghanistan-China-Pakistan-Tajikistan armed forces/militaries was held in Urumqi, Xingjian Uygur autonomous region, China, on 3rd August 2016,” ISPR said in a statement.

The meeting was attended by Qadam Shah Shahim, CGS Afghan National Army; General Fang Fenghui, Chief of Joint Staff Department of Central Military Commission; General Raheel Sharif, COAS Pakistan Army; and Major General E. A. Cobidrzoda, First Deputy Defence Minister and CGS Tajikistan armed forces.

The QCCM was a Chinese initiative, but Gen Sharif actively contributed to its establishment. The general visited Tajikistan and Afghanistan in March for this purpose. His visit to Kabul on that occasion coincided with that of Gen Fang, who was also there for talks on the alliance.

“The participants unanimously agreed that terrorism and extremism are serious threat to regional stability and … reiterated to cooperate for tackling these forces for peace and stability of all member countries,” a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting said.

Under this arrangement, the four countries would cooperate in counterterrorism situation evaluation, clue verification, intelligence sharing, counterterrorism capacity building, counterterrorism joint training exercises and personnel training.

The QCCM, it was agreed, would work through consensus. The new mechanism clarified that it was not targeted against any state or international organisation.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2016