Russia urges Taliban not to use Afghanistan's territory against other countries

October 20, 2021

MOSCOW — Russia has urged the Taliban movement to stay committed to its pronounced pledge to refrain from using Afghanistan's land against neighboring countries, said Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"Terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda are trying to exploit the tension in Afghanistan in order to launch attacks in different regions," Lavrov said in a speech at the Moscow Format international conference on Afghanistan, which was reported by the Russian Foreign Ministry's website.

"We are calling upon the Taliban movement to strictly follow the policy of preventing the territory of Afghanistan from being used against the interests of any third counties, first and foremost, Afghanistan’s near neighbors — the Central Asian states.

Our friends and allies. For our part we plan to use our own capabilities, including those in the United Nations, the SCO, the CSTO, and other multilateral organizations," he said.

The Moscow format was created in 2017 on the basis of a six-party mechanism of consultations by special envoys from Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, and Pakistan.

The Taliban movement launched a massive operation for establishing control of Afghanistan after the United States last spring declared its troop pullout. On Aug. 15, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani left the country.

The Taliban entered Kabul without encountering any resistance. On Sept. 6, the movement declared it had established control of the whole of the country’s territory and the next day, on Sept. 7 it announced the composition of an interim government, whose legitimacy has not been recognized by any country yet.

Lavrov expressed his satisfaction with the level of cooperation with the new authorities in Afghanistan, which guarantees the safety of Russian citizens working there and the regular work of the Russian Embassy in Kabul and other embassies of foreign countries.

He also called on the international community to provide financial assistance to Afghanistan to prevent a humanitarian crisis and stop the mass migration.

The Moscow format meeting includes delegations representing 10 countries: China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iran, in addition to an Afghan delegation including the deputy head of the interim government formed by the Taliban movement, Abdul Salam Hanafi.

Opening the talks, Lavrov emphasized that “forming a really inclusive government fully reflecting the interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces of the country” is necessary to achieve a stable peace in Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended with its troops withdrawing in 1989. In recent years, Moscow has made a strong comeback as an influential power broker in international talks on Afghanistan, hosting the Taliban representatives and members of other factions for bilateral and multilateral meetings. — Agencies

October 20, 2021
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