Russia, Central Asian states call for intra-Afghan talks — statement

World July 16, 23:58

Participants of the meeting noted that the current situation in Afghanistan causes deep concern due to the withdrawal of foreign troops from that country and the subsequent escalation of hostilities

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. The foreign ministers of five Central Asian States (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) plus Russia call for constructive talks between the government in Kabul and the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia), according to a joint statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.

"We hope for constructive talks between official Kabul and the Taliban with the aim of drafting coordinated approaches to the cessation of a lengthy war and development of Afghanistan as a peaceful, independent and sovereign state," the statement says.

In this context, the ministers welcome efforts to achieve national reconciliation in Afghanistan at all dialogue venues, including the Istanbul process, with consideration for the results of the 9th Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process ministerial conference held in Dushanbe on March 30, 2021, the extended Troika (Russia, the US, China and Pakistan) and the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan.

Participants of the meeting noted that the current situation in Afghanistan causes deep concern due to the withdrawal of foreign troops from that country and the subsequent escalation of hostilities between government forces and the Taliban, especially in the northern provinces bordering on the Central Asian states.

"At the same time, the ministers believe that, given this new geopolitical reality, it is necessary to look for ways to stabilize the military-political situation and establish peace in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA)," the ministers said.

"In this context, they urge all parties involved in the conflict in Afghanistan to refrain from the use of force and destabilizing actions with a view to creating favorable conditions for promoting peace," the joint statement reads. "We are convinced that it is only possible to establish a comprehensive and durable peace in Afghanistan with direct, inclusive talks on a political settlement between the Afghans, under the leadership of the Afghan people, and with the more active assistance of states and international agencies to Afghanistan’s recovery in the post-conflict period."

Terrorism and drug trafficking

The ministers of the five Central Asian states and Russia strongly condemned terror attacks in Afghanistan, in which civilians are killed or injured.

According to the top diplomats, the continued presence and activity of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levante (ISIS), al-Qaeda (both outlawed in Russia) and other international terrorist groups is one of the key factors that foment instability in Afghanistan, including in some of its northern regions.

"We are concerned about the expansion of drug crops and the high level of drug production and illegal arms trade. These are some of the main sources of income for terrorist groups and illegal arms turnover and we expect Afghanistan’s authorities to increase efforts on countering these threats," the statement says.

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