Oct 21, 2021
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Afghanistan in the Moscow format

The change of power in Afghanistan is a fait accompli, Russia will support the efforts undertaken by the Taliban * to stabilize the military-political situation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke about this after meeting behind closed doors with a delegation from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that arrived in Moscow.

For the Taliban, participation in the third meeting of the consultations on Afghanistan in the Moscow format, held on October 20, represented by ten neighboring states (Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), could be the starting point of the future international recognition.

The Joint Statement of the participants in the Moscow Consultation Format meeting states that “Further practical interaction with Afghanistan must be built taking into account the new reality – the Taliban Movement came to power in this country, regardless of the official recognition of the new Afghan government by the international community”

It is recognized that the Taliban have confirmed their commitments to prevent the use of the territory of Afghanistan against the security interests of neighboring countries. To relieve tensions within the country, the Afghan leadership was recommended to take additional measures to improve the public administration system and form a truly inclusive government.

So far, the government of the “Taliban” * banned in Russia * is not recognized, but they do not refuse to help him in rebuilding the country. It was proposed to launch a collective initiative for the early convocation of an international donor conference under the auspices of the UN, with the understanding that “That the main burden of post-conflict economic and financial reconstruction and development of Afghanistan should be borne by the forces whose military contingents have been present in this country for the past 20 years”

First of all, this applies to the United States, which did not participate in this forum. S. Lavrov expressed regret at the absence of US representatives and left the door open for the Americans: “Moscow hopes Washington remains willing to work actively on the Afghan issue”

By rejecting the invitation, the Americans reproach Russia for seeking diplomatic leadership in Afghanistan. Even so, Moscow has enough good reasons for this. American diplomacy’s three years of negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban ended with America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the establishment of a Taliban government. The 2020 Trump administration-approved deal with the Taliban is an act of surrender. Former Trump national security adviser Herbert McMaster put it this way: “The Taliban did not defeat us. We defeated ourselves “

And today Washington does not have a plan for peace in Afghanistan. Avoiding responsibility for the destruction of this country, the United States can only offer the countries of the region to independently counter threats from the Islamic Emirate. Washington is not going to help the new Afghan leadership. This is indicated by the results of their talks with the Taliban in Doha on October 9.

The new Afghan government is asking the US to lift economic restrictions and unfreeze its assets. Money is sorely lacking. This is due not only to the fact that after the Taliban came to power, international aid programs were curtailed, and the former president was able to take out, according to some sources, $ 169 million in cash. It was the Americans who dealt the main blow: they froze a significant part of the reserves of the Central Bank of Afghanistan. The money is still in the accounts, but there is no access to them. The sums overseas have settled impressive: more than $ 9 billion.

However, there is a chasm between the Afghans’ requests for help and the intentions of the Biden administration. Washington is blackmailing the Taliban to get their consent to “Over-the-horizon strikes” on Afghan territory. However, the Taliban have ruled out cooperation with the Americans to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan. Taliban spokesman Suheil Shahin is categorical. “We can fight [запрещённым в России] ISIS * on your own “He said when asked if the Taliban would work with the United States to contain the Islamic State *. The United States counted on a different answer.

It looks like the Americans are again playing a new game in Afghanistan. Washington is not going to contribute to the stability of the post-Soviet countries of Central Asia, otherwise it would not persistently seek opportunities to send uncontrolled flows of Afghan refugees to these countries, creating conditions for the penetration of jihadists.

It is pertinent to recall that the Moscow format was presented in 2017 on the basis of the six-party talks mechanism for holding consultations on Afghanistan between the special representatives of Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India. What can Washington offer these countries in the interests of their security? And the fact that Moscow is taking the initiative into its own hands is quite natural.

Despite talking to the Taliban, Russian officials, including President Putin, have made it clear in recent weeks that Moscow is not moving towards formal recognition of the Islamic Emirate. The Kremlin pays special attention to the fight against drug trafficking and the terrorist threat from Afghanistan. In addition, Russia, unlike the United States, does not plan to offer military assistance to the Taliban. The Taliban were added to the Russian list of terrorist organizations in 2003, and Moscow has not yet removed the movement from the list. Speaking at the CIS summit, President Putin advised his colleagues: “We understand that we need to interact with them, but there is no need to rush”

The new balance of forces in Afghanistan, as S. Lavrov noted, “has no alternative for the foreseeable future.” The Taliban themselves want to be the only political force representing Afghanistan. According to some reports, they actively opposed leaders of other political forces coming to Moscow. In addition, after the fall of Kabul, the role of political movements outside the country is not entirely clear.

The participants in the talks in Moscow did not plan to reach breakthrough agreements and sign any agreements. Everything went according to the plan of the Russian side, which hosted the meeting participants in Moscow. On the eve of the talks, the Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, noted that the normalization process would be long. The talks were the first event of this scale on Afghan issues after the Taliban came to power in Kabul. The Afghans were given hope for help, the UN already knows about the calls of the participants in the Moscow format to convene a donor conference to help Afghanistan.

Photo: gostrf

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