US, five Central Asian states vow not to allow forced takeover in Afghanistan

Published July 18, 2021
In this file photo, Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. — Reuters
In this file photo, Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: There’s no support in the region for “the imposition by force” of a new government in Afghanistan, says a joint statement signed by the United States and its five Central Asian allies.

In the document issued in Washington on Saturday, the United States, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also said that “terrorists and third-party forces must never be allowed to use Afghan territory to threaten or attack the C5+1 countries or any other country.”

The alliance — known as Five-Plus-One — pledged to work together to end the Afghan conflict, noting that the war had stunted economic progress in the South and Central Asian regions.

The document followed a two-day (July 15-16) international conference in Tashkent on promoting connectivity between the South and Central Asian regions.

The signatories agreed to “create stable and prosperous conditions favorable to the Afghan peace process, including reaffirming to all parties the urgency of substantive negotiations on a political settlement” in Afghanistan.

In another joint statement issued on Friday, the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity.

They acknowledged that “long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan is critical to regional connectivity” and that peace in Afghanistan and regional connectivity “are mutually reinforcing.”

The Five-Plus-One statement went a step ahead, pointing out that “the only path to a just and durable peace is through a negotiated political settlement that results in an inclusive political system and respects the fundamental rights of all Afghans.”

The United States and its five Central Asian allies agreed to advance cooperation with Afghanistan across security, energy, economic, trade, cultural, and other lines of effort.

They also agreed to cooperate to address challenges and threats to regional security, prosperity, and stability but the document did not say who posed these threats.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2021

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