KARACHI: A regional security meeting on Afghanistan, hosted by Russia with participation from China and other regional countries, has called upon the interim Afghan government to take effective measures to ‘dismantle’ all sorts of terrorist groups based in the country and to ensure that their territory no longer serves as ‘terrorism hotspot’.
The call for enhanced security measures arose during the fifth Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan, which gathered high-ranking officials from Pakistan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Representatives of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkiye also attended the audience as guests of honour, Dawn.com reported.
The talks on regional security were held in the Russian city of Kazan, on Friday, as Moscow seeks to forge ties with Afghanistan’s new rulers after US forces pulled out of Kabul in August 2021.
Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan conclude
“For our part, we will continue to develop multifaceted contacts with Afghanistan,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a written greeting to participants in the talks.
In his comments, Lavrov criticised the US withdrawal as a “complete fiasco” and said he hoped the West would never return to Afghanistan or its neighbours. “We consider the return of US and Nato military infrastructure to the territory of Afghanistan and its neighbouring states to be ‘unacceptable’,” he said. He hoped Kabul would “do everything to intensify its counter-terrorism and anti-drug efforts”.
Islamabad has repeatedly raised concerns over the use of Afghan soil by militants for cross-border terrorism.
According to a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry after the talks, the participants in the meeting expressed deep concern over challenging security situation in Afghanistan, mainly “due to the intensified activities of terrorist groups, particularly ISIS”.
The countries called on the current Afghan authorities 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”.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2023