Russia, Pakistan, Iran, China Envoys Start Early Intra-Afghan Talks

Special envoys on Afghanistan from Russia, Pakistan, Iran, and China have urged all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan, including the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia), to pave the way for the negotiations, according to the joint statement circulated by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday, TASS reported.

The envoys “welcome the Agreement between two main political leaders [Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah] and hope that this important event will expedite start of Intra-Afghan negotiations,” the statement said. With this in view, they “call on all Afghan ethnic groups and parties, including Taliban to act upon the opportunities preparing the situation to launch the Intra-Afghan negotiations as soon as possible,” the statement reads.

Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan draw attention to the developments in connection with the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and “call on foreign troops withdrawal in an orderly and responsible way so that the situation in Afghanistan will experience a steady transition.”

They support the release of prisoners and detainees held by all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan and hope that Resolution 2513(2020) of the UN Security Council will be complied with.

The special representatives “support the initiative of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a universal ceasefire and call for a simultaneous declaration of a comprehensive ceasefire throughout Afghanistan as agreed among parties to the conflict,” the statement adds.

The envoys urge the Afghan parties to take resolute action against Al-Qaeda, Islamic State (both outlawed in Russia) and other international terrorist organizations operating against regional states, as well as to take measures against the production of drugs in the country and drug trafficking.

Russian, Iranian, Chinese and Pakistan’s special representatives on Afghanistan reiterated their support to Kabul in combating the novel coronavirus infection. “The Special Representatives on Afghanistan Affairs of the four sides reaffirm their support to Afghanistan to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, welcome the international community to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan,” the document says.

The envoys “agree to maintain the contact on the Afghanistan issue, and work together to advance the Afghan peace reconciliation and reconstruction process,” the statement stressed.

Taking part in the consultations were Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Liu Jian, Pakistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Safdar Hayat, as well as Iran’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Mohammad Taherianfard.

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