Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan adopts joint statement

Taliban representative praises results of meeting on Afghan settlement

Elena Teslova   | 21.10.2021
Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan adopts joint statement Taliban delegation attend 3rd Moscow Format meeting on Afghan settlement in Moscow, Russia on October 20, 2021. ( Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency )


The third meeting of the Moscow format talks on Afghanistan concluded Wednesday with the adoption of a joint statement on Afghanistan formalizing the position and demands of the member countries to the Taliban. 

Above all, the Moscow format members -- Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran, Pakistan, China, Turkmenistan, India, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan -- vowed to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, the statement said.

They also stressed that they view the Taliban as the new Afghan authorities despite the absence of official recognition and will interact with them respectfully.

In order to obtain official recognition, the Taliban must improve the state management system and form “a truly inclusive government that adequately reflects the interests of all major ethnopolitical forces in the country.”

“This will be a fundamental prerequisite for the completion of the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

Another issue the member countries consider important is that the Taliban pursue a moderate and wise internal and foreign policy, be friendly to Afghanistan’s neighbor states and “achieve the shared goals of durable peace, security, safety and long-term prosperity and respect the rights of ethnic groups, women and children.”

The Moscow format welcomed the Taliban’s “reaffirmed commitment” to prevent the use of Afghan territory against other states and expressed readiness to provide assistance in fighting terrorist groups residing in Afghanistan, emphasizing that their activities remain a matter of concern for the member countries.

Another reason for concern pointed out in the joint statement is the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

To address this problem, the sides proposed to convene “a broad-based international donor conference” under the auspices of the United Nations as soon as possible, “certainly with the understanding that the core burden of the post-conflict economic and financial reconstruction and development of Afghanistan must be shouldered by troop-based actors which were in the country for the past 20 years,” the statement said.

Taliban ‘appreciates’ meeting of Moscow format

Commenting on the results of the meeting of the Moscow format, Zakir Jalaly, a representative of the Taliban’s Foreign Ministry, said “it was a very good meeting in a very positive atmosphere,” and all of the countries confirmed their willingness to closely interact with the Taliban.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [the Taliban’s name for the republic] appreciates and welcomes this initiative of the Russian side,” he said.

He added that all participating countries supported the unfreezing of the assets of the Afghan central bank, “which belong to the people of Afghanistan and should not be associated with political affairs.”

For his part, the Taliban’s Minister of Information and Culture, Khairullah Khairkhwa, said “all participants of the meeting agreed that there should be peace and stability in Afghanistan” and unanimously agreed that there is a need to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

In turn, Abdul Salam Hanafi, acting as a second deputy prime minister in the Taliban government, said the new government of Afghanistan is doing everything to ensure the security of the country and its citizens.

“No one is persecuted on the basis of ethnic, religious, linguistic, gender, or other differences,” he said.

Hanafi urged to officially recognize the new Afghan authorities, warning that “if the new government is not recognized, if it is not supported, the groups that threaten the security of Afghanistan will only strengthen their influence.”

The Moscow format is a mechanism established in 2017 for the Afghanistan issue.

It held several rounds of talks in Moscow in 2017 and 2018.

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