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Moscow format meet on Afghanistan kicks off in Russia city of Kazan

September 29, 2023 at 2:43 pm

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia. [Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Anadolu Agency]

A meeting of the Moscow format on Afghanistan kicked off in the Russian city of Kazan on Friday, with matters including an inclusive Afghan government and counter-terrorism efforts on the agenda, Anadolu Agency reports.

Addressing the participants, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Western countries have inflicted “irreparable damage” on the Afghan people, and must shoulder the main burden of the post-conflict reconstruction of the war-torn country.

Instead, he added, the US has frozen Afghan assets, which are needed in Afghanistan where people live in difficult conditions.

He voiced concern over attempts by non-regional players to intensify their activities in Afghanistan and re-establish military presence.

We consider unacceptable the return of the US and NATO military infrastructure to the territory of Afghanistan and its neighbouring states, no matter what pretexts they may use

Lavrov stressed.

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The Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting that Moscow expects additional constructive steps by Kabul to form an ethno-political inclusive government.

“In the future, this may become the basis for the official recognition of the new Afghan leadership,” he said.

Separately, the Taliban said on X that acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, told the meeting that over the past two years the administration, after rebuilding political, security and economic systems, accelerated the fight against insurgent groups, which were “trained by the invaders”.

Friday’s session is the fifth gathering of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan. It was created in 2017 on the basis of a six-party consultation mechanism of special representatives of Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China and Pakistan.

Its first meeting was held on 14 April, 2017 with the participation of deputy ministers and special representatives of 11 countries, including the Afghan side.

The main goal is to promote the process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan and the early establishment of peace. The last, fourth meeting, was held in November 2022 in Moscow, without the participation of the Taliban.

Besides Russia, the Moscow format for Afghanistan includes India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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