- China is willing to work with neighboring countries to provide support to Afghanistan
- TASS: Russia pointed out the unacceptability of the deployment of US military infrastructure in Afghanistan’s neighborhood
- Pakistan: Afghanistan’s neighbors, all have a vested interest and stake in seeing peace and stability return to Afghanistan
- Iran: Afghanistan’s geography cannot be used as a leverage against the regional countries.
- Ariana News: Instability in Afghanistan will not benefit anyone – Afghanistan’s FM
- SAMARKAND DECLARATION of the Fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighboring States
On 13 April 2023, the fourth ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries took place in Samarkand, which was attended by the heads of the foreign ministries of Uzbekistan, Iran, China, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The event was chaired by Uzbekistan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Hadjiev represented Turkmenistan at the conference.
During the forum, the parties discussed the current situation in Afghanistan, the issues of the implementation by the country’s authorities of the key requirements of the world community – the creation of an inclusive government, ensuring access of Afghan women to work and education, respect for the rights of national minorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan reports.
The sides stressed the need to develop a mechanism for joint actions aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and restoring the country’s national economy.
The meeting noted the importance of creating a truly inclusive government in Kabul that reflects the interests of key ethnopolitical groups. The countries of the region expressed their readiness to assist Kabul in stepping up efforts to eradicate terrorism and drug crime, and improve the socio-economic situation in the country.
In this regard, the parties supported the idea of promoting the unlocking Afghanistan’s potential as a key factor of regional connectivity between Central and South Asia.
In this context, the parties called for the implementation of infrastructure and socio-economic projects on the territory of Afghanistan with the participation of neighboring states, which will contribute not only to the creation of new jobs, but also to the more active integration of this country into regional economic processes.
Following the meeting the parties adopted the Samarkand Declaration [see. at the end of this report].
The Fifth Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries will take place in Ashgabat in 2024.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang during his remarks at the 4th ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbor countries said the longstanding Afghan issue is the result of both “old diseases that have not been cured” and “new ones,” and that Afghanistan’s neighboring countries should play a leading role in helping Afghanistan overcome difficulties and challenges and achieve stable development.
He put forward a four-point proposal.
The first is to crack down on the terrorist forces in Afghanistan, remove the breeding ground for terrorism at its source, and resolutely prevent Afghanistan from becoming a sanctuary, breeding ground and source of spreading terrorism again.
Second, the U.S. should fulfill its responsibilities. The U.S. is the initiator of the Afghan problem and has yet to reflect on the serious harm it has caused to the Afghan people. The U.S. should immediately lift unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan and return Afghanistan’s overseas funds.
Third, he called on the Afghan Taliban to build inclusive governance. On the basis of respecting the independence, sovereignty and national self-esteem of Afghanistan, the neighbors should guide the Afghan Taliban to follow the trend of the times, learn from the mature practices of other Muslim countries, and show more inclusiveness and progressiveness in the establishment and specific governance of political power.
The fourth is to carry out practical cooperation related to Afghanistan.
Qin said that China will continue to provide support within its capacity for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and is willing to work with neighboring countries to adhere to the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, be kind to neighbors and act as their partners, deepen friendship, mutual trust and integration of interests with neighboring countries, join hands to properly solve the Afghan issue, and be committed to the security and common development of the region.
TASS: Russia pointed out the unacceptability of the deployment of US military infrastructure in Afghanistan’s neighborhood
Russia pointed out the unacceptability of attempts by the United States and NATO to deploy their military infrastructure on the territory of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries. The statement came from the Russian Foreign Ministry following the 4th ministerial conference of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries with the participation of Iran, China, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
“The participants emphasized the responsibility of the United States and its NATO allies for the results of their dire 20-year Afghan military campaign, which led to the current dismal state of affairs. It was stressed that the countries of the collective West should shoulder the main financial burden for the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added.
In addition, the need for the West to unlock Afghan national assets as soon as possible to resolve the humanitarian crisis in this country was underlined.
Pakistan: Afghanistan’s neighbors, all have a vested interest and stake in seeing peace and stability return to Afghanistan
Afghanistan currently faces multiple and mutually reinforcing challenges: the humanitarian situation in the country remains grim, with a staggering 28 million people – over 2/3rd of the population, requiring urgent humanitarian assistance to survive, said Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan in her statement.
She underlined that the international community currently finds itself in a ‘standstill’ with Afghanistan. The ‘cascade’ of unmet expectations, has meant that critical support needed by Afghanistan to stave-off a grave humanitarian crisis, prevent an economic meltdown and to combat terrorism, has been withheld.
Pakistan urged that this policy needs an urgent reset and what is required is ‘patience’ and ‘reciprocity’.
“Afghanistan’s neighbours, all have a vested interest and stake in seeing peace and stability return to Afghanistan”, Hina Rabbani Khar said.
In this context, Islamabad believes that neighbor countries’ collective efforts should be guided by the following elements:
- One, unity of purpose and a synergy of effort within the region remains imperative. This implies evolving common strategies and shared perspectives on Afghanistan.
- Two, connectivity has remained a pipe-dream for far too long. Connectivity projects such as CASA-1000, Trans-Afghan Railways, TAPI and others, are not merely economic undertakings, they are also strategic investments in shared future – an effective counterpoise to the threat of terrorism, drug trafficking and other challenges confronting Afghanistan. As a first step, a dedicated ‘Connectivity Fund’ to provide priority financing for these projects should be considered.
- Three, Pakistan firmly believes that humanitarian support should remain delinked from any political considerations.
- Four, countries should focus on generating economic activity within Afghanistan to ensure a sustainable future, avoid economic meltdown and prevent exodus of refugees. Exploring realistic pathways towards unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial assets would be a key first step. A roadmap for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan is equally important.
- Five, we should devise a roadmap of cooperation with the Afghan authorities based on a ‘hierarchy of priorities’, especially where the Interim Afghan Government has shown a commitment to act.
- Six, greater coordination between regional and international efforts on Afghanistan remain equally important. The OIC has taken a number of initiatives including establishment of the Humanitarian Trust Fund and the Afghan Food Security programme. Building synergies with the OIC, including the OIC Trust Fund, would amplify collective efforts to help and assist the Afghan people.
- Seven, constructive engagement with the Interim Afghan Government remains imperative.
Hussein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran focused part of his statement on attempts of extraregional actors to reinforce the terrorist groups, particularly Daesh, in Afghanistan through moving its experienced elements from the Middle East to this country.
“Augmentation of the Daesh operational capacity and expanding its objectives to officials of the Taliban interim government, diplomatic premises, media and cultural centers, Shia Muslims and business activists all verify this claim. The Islamic Republic of Iran advocates coherent interaction among the regional countries to block the expansion of activities by Daesh and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan”, he said.
The minister also paid attention to the rights of women and girls of Afghanistan to get education.
He voiced Iran’s readiness to provide the Afghan interim government with all kinds of hardware and software supports to create the necessary conditions for the education of women and girls.
During his remarks Amir-Abdollahian present 6-point recommendations:
First: Iran believes that congested regional and especially Afghanistan’s problems can be properly solved and managed through the adoption of a sort of regional cooperation model and pattern to be supported by the United Nations and other international organizations. This requires prohibition of unhealthy rivalry and promotion of assistance to each other with the objective of advancing various economic, social and humanitarian programs and packages.
Second: The international and humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations are expected to step up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and take necessary measures to improve its economy, peace, security and stability there.
Third: Iran stands totally ready to establish closer cooperation with the international organizations and the Taliban government bilaterally or multilaterally to fight with the world drug problem and the trafficking and trade of narcotics.
Fourth: The grounds have been paved for the virtual education of Afghan girls in Iran with all considerations pertaining to Islamic, cultural and civilizational requirements of the region. Iran is ready to expand scientific and academic capacities in Afghanistan with the help of the UN and cooperation of the interim government in Kabul.
Fifth: Iran calls for the UN to devote more effective efforts to improving the conditions of millions of Afghani refugees in Iran and millions of Afghans who have been internally displaced in Afghanistan.
Sixth: The Taliban and the interim government are in difficult conditions due to failure to make serious efforts to remove Afghanistan’s main challenges such as the formation of an inclusive government, protection of the rights of Afghan citizens, codification of the constitution and enjoyment of national capacities for the complete fight with terrorism and improvement of Afghan’s economy. Iran emphasizes that regional cooperation and regional patterns to resolve the problems and crises of the past two years provide reliable grounds for a coordinated discourse and maintaining regional initiatives in the upcoming meeting in Doha.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi attended the 4th Ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries.
Muttaqi told delegates that “the recent positive developments in Afghanistan, such as the withdrawal of foreign forces, rise of a powerful central government, law and order, encompassing security, end of corruption, access to judiciary and justice, ban on narcotics cultivation and trade, and the overall positive resolve of the Afghan government have spawned new opportunities for close and meaningful cooperation between Afghanistan and the region.”
He also said that decades of imposed wars had not only snatched great economic and commercial opportunities from Afghanistan but the region at large. “We now have a window of opportunity to transform Afghanistan into a key economic and commercial partner,” he said.
“Our expectation remains that regional countries will exert joint efforts to bring about conditions of stability and economic prosperity in Afghanistan so that it may assist Afghanistan in playing a constructive role. We, likewise, are ready to fulfill our obligations as a responsible government,” he stated.
He urged regional states to remain vigilant about not allowing their policy towards Afghanistan “to fall prey to the negative propaganda and machinations of opposing powers.”
“Rather, Afghanistan must be viewed from the lens of regional security, stability and economic connectivity, and through close observation of ground realities and positive engagement with its authorities. Positive and resolute political, security and economic regional cooperation can prove beneficial in securing both the interests of Afghanistan and the region”, he went on saying.
“Instability in Afghanistan is not in the interest of anyone as it can become a source for regional instability, narcotics boom, arms proliferation, illegal migration and other challenges,” he stressed.
SAMARKAND DECLARATION of the Fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighboring States
The Fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighboring States was held on April 13, 2023 in Samarkand, the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The foreign ministers and senior officials of China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended the meeting.
In a frank and pragmatic atmosphere of mutual understanding, the Parties held a comprehensive, deep and constructive discussion of the current situation in Afghanistan, the prospects for its development, and stated the following:
The Parties reaffirmed the commitment to the development of Afghanistan as a peaceful, united, sovereign and independent state, free from the threats of terrorism and drug trafficking.
The Parties noted the importance of building an inclusive and broad-based governance system in Afghanistan that reflects the interests of all segments of Afghan society.
The Parties noted that the terrorism-related security situation in Afghanistan was still severe and reaffirmed their commitment to enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism and security among neighboring countries and to develop a united front against terrorism.
The Parties pointed out that all terrorist groups, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaeda, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundallah, Jaish al-Adl, Jamaat Ansarullah, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and other terrorist organizations based in Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to regional and global security.
The Parties stressed the importance of combating the drug threat and called for support for the development of drug crop substitution programs, as well as for combating drug production and trafficking.
The Parties emphasized the necessity for the international community to maintain dialogue and communication with Afghanistan and called for further measures to improve the living conditions of the people and expressed confidence that the Afghan authorities will respect fundamental human rights, including the rights of all ethnic groups, women and children, and will provide every citizen of Afghanistan with equal rights to participate in the socio-political, economic and cultural life of the country.
The parties noted the relevance of coordinating regional and international efforts to ensure security and stability in the region, emphasizing the positive contribution of existing regional forums, including the Tashkent International Conference “Afghanistan: Security and Economic Development” and the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan.
The Parties expressed their deep concern about the humanitarian situation and the poor economic situation in the country, declaring their readiness to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and providing support for the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.
The Parties noted the key role of the United Nations in providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, calling on the international community to intensify emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
The Parties reaffirmed the importance of countering attempts to politicize the provision of humanitarian assistance needed by the people of Afghanistan and stressed that the distribution and use of humanitarian assistance should serve for the benefit of the ordinary Afghan people.
The Parties emphasized that assistance to Kabul in restoring the national economy will allow creating decent living conditions for the population and reducing the flow of migration abroad.
The Parties noted the fundamental significance of major international energy, transport, communication, infrastructure and other projects implemented by neighboring countries for socio-economic development of Afghanistan and its active integration into the world economy.
The Parties took note of the initiative of Uzbekistan to create an International Negotiation Group under the auspices of the UN and Tajikistan’s initiative on creating a “security belt” around Afghanistan, and look forward to receiving comprehensive concept notes from the initiators.
Urged the countries mainly responsible for the current predicament in Afghanistan to earnestly fulfill commitments on the economic recovery and future development of Afghanistan.
The parties reaffirmed the launch of three working group meetings namely political and diplomatic, economic and humanitarian, security and stability at an early date.
The Parties expressed gratitude and appreciation to Uzbekistan for holding the Fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers at a high organizational level, and supported the proposal to hold the Fifth Meeting of Foreign Ministers in Ashgabat in 2024, or at an earlier date, if needed.
///nCa, 14 April 2023 [photo credit – MFA Iran, MFA Russia]