Russia-led forum urges Taliban to eliminate all terrorist groups
The forum also stressed their concern at the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on women’s employment and girls’ education and urged the group to promote modern education in schools
Members of a Russia-led forum on Afghanistan, including India, have urged the Taliban setup in Kabul to eliminate terrorist groups active on Afghan soil and to prevent the country being a “terrorism and instability hotspot”.
The Kazan Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the Moscow Format consultations on Afghanistan on Friday, pointed out that the Taliban regime has made no progress in forming a “truly inclusive government” that reflects the interests of all ethno-political groups of the country.
India was represented at the talks held in the Russian city of Kazan by the country’s ambassador in Moscow, Pavan Kapoor. The Moscow Format was established in 2017 to promote national reconciliation in Afghanistan and other members of the forum are Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Kazan Declaration said the forum had called on the Taliban setup to “take effective measures to dismantle, eliminate and prevent placement of all sorts of terrorist groups based in Afghanistan and to prevent the country from being the terrorism and instability hotspot and spreading to the regional states”.
The declaration regretted that “there had been no progress in forming a truly inclusive government in Afghanistan, reflecting the interests of all ethno-political groups”. It said: “Despite the appointment of some individual representatives of various Afghan ethnicities to the Kabul administration, the parties observed no political pluralism in it.”
The forum reiterated its call to the Taliban setup to “establish a practical, outcome-oriented dialogue with the representatives of alternative ethno-political groups with a view to completing the process of peaceful settlement and forging a balanced, more broad-based, inclusive, accountable and responsible government” in Kabul.
The forum also expressed concern at the “difficult security situation” in Afghanistan because of the intensification of activities of terrorist groups, primarily the Islamic State. Acknowledging the Taliban’s fight against Islamic State, the forum urged the regime in Kabul to “do the same against all terrorist groups”.
The forum acknowledged the reduction in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan but stressed the importance of persisting with an effective anti-drug policy, including against industrial drug production, which has seen a “serious and dangerous increase”.
Members of the Moscow Format also called on the Taliban to increase cooperation with regional countries to fight both terrorism and drug-trafficking emanating from Afghan territory. “Most participants stressed their opposition to the support for terrorism in Afghanistan by external forces,” the declaration said.
The countries emphasised the need to respect fundamental rights and freedoms in Afghanistan, including equal rights to work, education and justice, without discrimination based on gender, ethnicity or religion. They stressed their concern at the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on women’s employment and girls’ education and urged the group to promote modern education in schools.
The countries also called on the Taliban to improve the welfare of Afghan people, “prevent their further migration and provide conditions for the return of the refugees”.
The meeting was attended by the Taliban’s “acting foreign minister” Amir Khan Muttaqi. Representatives of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates attended the consultations as observers.
No country has so far recognised the Taliban regime that came to power in mid-2021 by overthrowing the government of Ashraf Ghani. India and more than a dozen other countries currently have a diplomatic presence in Kabul.