Kabul concerned over Moscow meeting on peace in Afghanistan without Afghans

KABUL (TCA) — The government of Afghanistan has expressed concern over a third high-level meeting about the country held in Moscow on December 27 between Russia, China, and Pakistan that did not include any Afghan representatives, RFE/RL reports.

“Discussion about the situation in Afghanistan, even if well-intentioned, in the absence of Afghans cannot help,” said Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni.

The United States, which still has nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan and has been fighting the Taliban with Afghan forces since 2001, also was not invited to the Moscow talks.

Officials in Kabul and Washington say Russia has been deepening its ties with Taliban militants, though Moscow has denied that.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said after the Moscow meeting that its participants pointed to the “worsening security situation” in Afghanistan and were “especially worried” about intensifying activities by extremist groups in that country, including the Afghan branch of ISIS.

The meeting’s participants agreed to continue efforts to assist in furthering the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan, based on the “key role of the Afghans themselves” and in line with the principles of “integrating the armed opposition into peaceful life”. Russia and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, reaffirmed their readiness for “flexible approaches” to the prospect of excluding certain individuals from the list of sanctioned persons as part of efforts to promote a peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The participants agreed to continue consultations in an expanded format and therefore would like to see Afghanistan take part, the ministry added.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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