The neighbouring countries of Afghanistan on Thursday issued a joint statement after the first ministerial meeting, urging the Taliban to form an inclusive government and follow moderate policies. It was the first ministerial meeting of Afghanistan's neighbours — China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — since the Taliban took over in Kabul.
The joint statement was issued a day after the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan met virtually on Wednesday at the invitation of Pakistan. They urged the UN to take responsibility for peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
The statement stressed on the Taliban to form an open, inclusive governmental structure, which practices moderate policies, adopts friendly policies towards neighbours of Afghanistan and respects the fundamental human rights including those of ethnic groups, women and children. The ministers also emphasised that the relevant members of the UN Security Council should take responsibility for peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan by providing vital economic and humanitarian assistance.
The international community should not abandon the people of Afghanistan, it said. They called for allowing unhindered access and protection to United Nations entities and other international humanitarian organisations to provide necessary aid and assistance to the people in need in Afghanistan.
The statement expressed support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and non-interference in its internal affairs, and noted that the future of Afghanistan should be determined by its people, in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter. The statement noted that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan provided the people of Afghanistan an opportunity to determine their own future, which should allow in practice to realise the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process for national peace and reconciliation.
It recognised that the changes undergone in Afghanistan prove yet again that there is no military solution to this issue, emphasising the importance of an inclusive political structure in Afghanistan with participation of all ethnic groups. It cautioned against the possibility of incitement and role of spoilers, both inside and outside the country, to derail efforts towards an all-inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.
It affirmed the importance of sustained international engagement on Afghanistan, especially in supporting its humanitarian and development needs. Condemning the terrorist attacks on Kabul airport and other places of ethnic and religious groups, the statement emphasised that Afghanistan's territory should not be allowed to pose a threat to other countries.
It also reiterated that terrorist organisations, such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Balochistan Liberation Army, Jondollah and others should not be allowed to maintain a foothold on Afghanistan's territory. The group expressed readiness to keep ports open for Afghanistan and ensure the smooth cross border flow of goods to facilitate Afghanistan's access to external support and committed to continue providing medical supplies as well as technical and other assistance to the people of Afghanistan's efforts to fight COVID-19.
They also urged the international community to provide adequate, predictable, regular and sustainable financial support in line with the principle of international responsibility and burden sharing for the Afghan refugees including for their timely and well-resourced repatriation. They pointed out that the continued increase of narcotic drugs production over the past 20 years in Afghanistan has caused serious harm to the people of Afghanistan and the international community, and stressed the need to stop narcotic drugs production in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Ministers agreed to meet on a rotating basis, holding their next meeting in Tehran, and to set up a mechanism of regular consultations of Special Envoys for Afghanistan, as well as regular meetings of representatives of Embassies in Kabul to discuss and coordinate their joint efforts, the statement added. The meeting comes a day after the Taliban unveiled a hardline interim government led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, with key roles being shared by high-profile members of the insurgent group, including a specially designated global terrorist of the dreaded Haqqani Network as the interior minister.
The Taliban seized control of war-torn Afghanistan in mid-August, ousting the previous elected leadership which was backed by the West. Pakistan has already said before the announcement of the caretaker government by the Taliban that it will not accord recognition to the new government on the basis of regional consensus.
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