5th Meeting of the Moscow Format
In a significant diplomatic gathering held in the Russian City of Kazan, representatives from various countries convened for the fifth meeting of the Moscow Format Consultation on Afghanistan. The meeting, which took place on September 29, 2023, featured special representatives and senior officials from India, Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, among others. Notably, the acting minister for Foreign Affairs appointed by the Taliban in Afghanistan was also in attendance, alongside representatives from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
Objective of the Moscow Format Meeting
The primary focus of this high-level meeting was to discuss the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, with an emphasis on regional security and the integration of Afghanistan into border regional economic processes.
Outcome of the Meeting
One of the key outcomes of the meeting was a collective call on the Taliban to establish a government system that is “truly inclusive” and represents the interests of all key ethnopolitical groups within the country. Additionally, the participants urged the Taliban to intensify their efforts in counter-terrorism and anti-drug activities.
Urgent Need to Unblock Afghan Assets
A crucial point of consensus among the attendees was the immediate and unconditional unblocking of Afghan assets by Washington and its allies. These assets are essential for the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan’s economy. The attendees vehemently opposed any return of US and NATO military structures to Afghan or neighboring territory, emphasizing that such a move would be unacceptable.
Adoption of the Kazan Declaration
Towards the conclusion of the meeting, the participants jointly adopted the “Kazan Declaration of the Moscow Format of Consultation on Afghanistan,” signifying their collective commitment to addressing the multifaceted challenges facing Afghanistan and the wider region.
International Pressure on Taliban at the United Nation
The international gathering follows earlier discussions at the United Nations, where 11 countries expressed their concerns over the treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. The countries, including the United States, France, Britain, Japan, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Ecuador, Albania and Malta, described the Taliban’s actions as “gender-based violence” and called for global support to define “gender apartheid” in international law.
Women’s Rights Advocacy in Afghanistan
The Women’s Rights Council representative urged the Taliban to revoke all restrictive policies on women’s education and work. Afghan women have been actively protesting against the Taliban’s policies, including engaging in hunger strikes, to defend their rights.