Politics, Asia - Pacific

Russia envoy suggests interim government in Afghanistan

Presidential envoy says political compromises and formation of interim government key to end conflict

Elena Teslova   | 24.03.2021
Russia envoy suggests interim government in Afghanistan

MOSCOW

Russia’s presidential envoy for Afghanistan said on Wednesday that the Afghan problem could be settled through the establishment of an interim coalition government.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Zamir Kabulov said: “When neither side can prevail, the conflict usually ends with political compromises.”

"The formation of an interim government is not only realistic, as far as we understand with the Americans, Pakistanis, and Chinese partners, there is no alternative to it. We all know perfectly well from the history of other conflicts and civil wars in other countries that when neither side can prevail, usually such a conflict ends with the finding of political compromises,” he said.

“In this sense, we are talking about the need for a coalition provisional government, because both sides must stop killing each other and find a formula for joint governance of the country," he suggested.

However, this does not mean that the Troika plus on Afghanistan – Russia, China, the US, and Pakistan – would force the Afghan sides to it, Kabulov added.

The envoy admitted that the resumption of hostilities in Afghanistan also depends on the fulfillment of the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement and suggested finding mutually acceptable outcomes to avoid a military escalation.

The diplomat did not rule out the possibility of terminating the agreement, stressing that it can be done in a variety of ways, one of which is to reach new terms.

Moscow conference on Afghanistan

On last week’s two-day meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow, he said it was summoned to push "a stalled Doha [Qatar] process," and in this sense it was successful.

Another task of the meeting was to find solutions to prevent the resumption and escalation of the spring-summer military campaign, he said.

"Whether we have been able to do this, the near future will show,” he said, adding that the Taliban delegation led by Abdul Ghani Baradar will present the consultations at the conference to its top leadership and "it will consider these issues."

Kabulov also stressed that the Troika plus on Afghanistan – Russia, China, the US, and Pakistan – would force the Afghan sides to it, Kabulov added.

The envoy admitted that the resumption of hostilities in Afghanistan also depends on the fulfillment of the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement and suggested finding mutually acceptable outcomes to avoid a military escalation.

The diplomat did not rule out the possibility of terminating the agreement, stressing that it can be done in a variety of ways, one of which is to reach new terms.

Moscow conference on Afghanistan

On last week’s two-day meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow, he said it was summoned to push "a stalled Doha [Qatar] process," and in this sense it was successful.

Another task of the meeting was to find solutions to prevent the resumption and escalation of the spring-summer military campaign, he said.

"Whether we have been able to do this, the near future will show,” he said, adding that the Taliban delegation led by Abdul Ghani BaradarTroika plus called on both sides – the Taliban and the Afghan government – to refrain from hostilities.

"We called on both sides for a reduction in violence, because often a lot, especially the Western media focus on the fact that the Taliban have done this and that, and do not mention that every day the Afghan government forces kill dozens of Taliban, bombing. Therefore, this appeal was sent to both sides," he said.

Kabulov said the Russian side will be happy to take part in the Istanbul meeting on Afghanistan. However, it is waiting for the documents, specifying the goals of the meeting, its attendees, and agenda.

Pakistan, Iran – influential players

Kabulov particularly stressed the important role of Pakistan in the intra-Afghan peace talks.

"Pakistan is making very active and constructive efforts, and we have agreed to continue and deepen our cooperation. Pakistan is one of the key players, and the Pakistanis are doing a lot to attract Iranian partners to these negotiations. And we very much look forward to the continued, equally active role of Islamabad," he said.

Iran, if it joins, can play a major role, Kabulov said.

"Iran can play a significant role if it gets involved. Of course, we can do this without Iran, but the presence of Iranians at this table is felt, and I hope that in the very near future the Iranian partners will join this work, and we will work in full force," he said.

The US invaded Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the 19 years of US involvement plus related conflicts have cost the lives of over 100,000 civilians and forced millions to flee their homes. The UN has repeatedly urged that opportunities for peace in the region should be seized. ​​​​​​​

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