Wednesday Oct 20, 2021
MOSCOW: Russia called on Wednesday for a mobilisation of international aid to support Afghanistan, as Moscow hosted the Taliban for an international conference while regretting a US decision to stay away.
“We are convinced that it is time to mobilise the resources of the international community to provide Kabul with effective financial humanitarian support, including to prevent a humanitarian crisis and reduce migration flows," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters before the start of talks with Taliban, Chinese and Pakistani officials.
According to a press release by Pakistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and a high-level Afghan delegation attended the meeting.
Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, represented Pakistan at the meeting.
In his statement, the special representative thanked Russia for hosting the third round of the meeting. He said that Pakistan’s constructive role in the Afghan peace process is well-recognised and acknowledged by the international community.
Ambassador Sadiq also highlighted that peace in Afghanistan will benefit the entire region in terms of stability, secure borders, enhanced connectivity, return of refugees and countering terrorism.
He emphasised that there was urgent need to extend humanitarian support to Afghanistan for which the international community must step up its efforts. The ambassador underscored the importance of aid and economic assistance to avert humanitarian and financial crisis in the war torn country.
The special representative reiterated Pakistan’s firm belief that peace goes hand in hand with prosperity and economic stability. He emphasised that after all these years, the people of Afghanistan need and deserve peace, progress and prosperity. "And the international community must generously help them to walk on that path," the statement read.
Russia's initiative in hosting the talks and rallying aid for Afghanistan is part of an effort to boost its influence in the region after the United States withdrew its forces from Afghanistan and the Taliban seized power in August.
Lavrov said he regretted the absence of the United States from the talks. Washington has skipped the Moscow meeting citing technical reasons but has said it plans to join similar talks in the future.
Moscow is mainly concerned about the risk of instability in the former Soviet countries of Central Asia, and possible migrant flows and militant activity directed from Afghanistan.
“We call on the Taliban movement — and we discussed this with their distinguished delegation — to prevent the use of Afghanistan’s territory against third countries, most importantly neighbours," Lavrov said.
Russia fought its own war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and has close military and political ties with former Soviet Central Asian states that border Afghanistan