At the fifth summit of the Moscow Format meeting pertaining to the situation in Afghanistan, a number of developments came to the fore.
Some were expected, others surprising.
Held in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan in Russia’s Muslim-majority region, the gathering brought together all 10 members of the Moscow Format.
The September 29-30 meeting was attended by representatives from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Envoys of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) attended as guests.
With the exception of India which is seen as poking its nose into Afghan affairs, the other nine members of the Moscow Format are directly affected by developments in Afghanistan.
For the first time, a Taliban delegation was invited to the Moscow Format talks.
This has led to speculation that the Taliban-led government would be recognized by at least some, if not all countries of the world.
The acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, Amir Khan Muttaqi who led the Taliban government delegation, urged participants to follow China’s example and send their ambassadors to Kabul.
China is the only country to have sent its ambassador to Kabul and has also entered into agreements to develop several mining projects.
Beijing is building a road through the 65-km wide Wakhan Corridor.
This road will link China with Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province and bypass the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
It will become an important component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that will link 65 countries in West and Central Asia and beyond in Europe.
The construction of road through the Wakhan Corridor has been necessitated by the craven attitude of the Pakistani generals who would rather remain slaves of America than allow the country to become independent.
CPEC has gone into limbo because America does not want China to succeed economically.
The Pakistani generals, far from working to help develop their own country, are anxious to appease Uncle Sam.
Such treachery is hard to find elsewhere.
The Taliban-led government is a reality in Afghanistan today.
The Moscow Format communique urged them to broaden their support base to include other ethnic groups in government.
They were also called upon to curtail the activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan including the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), a breakaway faction of Daesh.
Terrorism affects all the neighbouring countries.
The Moscow Format declaration “noted the proposal of [the] I. R. Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran) to strengthen regional cooperation on Afghanistan by establishing a regional contact group to discuss the issues of common interests.”
The most significant outcome of the Moscow Format was the warning issued about US re-entry into Afghanistan.
The Kazan declaration did not mince words.
The participants “advocated for Afghanistan as an independent, united and peaceful state.”
The following statement goes to the heart of the matter that representatives of the Moscow Format issued.
“They underscored the unacceptability of deployment of military infrastructure facilities of third countries in Afghanistan and its neighboring states under any pretext.”
This point was further emphasized by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who mentioned the “increasing involvement of extra-regional actors in Afghanistan,” in a clear reference to American designs in Afghanistan.
In an interview, the top Russian diplomat stressed that a “full-scale pooling of efforts between the countries in the region and the Nato states is only possible under the condition that the latter fully recognise their responsibility for the lamentable results of their 20-year military presence in Afghanistan, which has culminated in a complete fiasco.”
Lavrov called on the US and NATO to take full responsibility for rebuilding Afghanistan that they had destroyed over a 20-year period.
There are credible reports that the US in conjunction with Pakistan is planning to build new military bases both in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan.
They seem not to have learned any lessons from America’s 20-year war of terror that inflicted immense destruction on Afghanistan and Pakistan.