Kazan Declaration of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan, Kazan, September 29, 2023

On September 29, 2023, the fifth meeting of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan at the level of special representatives and senior officials from China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan was held. The meeting was also attended by acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. Representatives of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Tรผrkiye were in attendance as guests of honor.

The parties noted with concern the difficult security situation in Afghanistan due to the intensification of the activities of terrorist groups, primarily ISIS. Appreciated the current Afghan authorities for their serious fight against ISIS and urged them to do the same against all terrorist groups. Called on the current Afghan authorities to take effective measures to dismantle, eliminate and prevent placement of all sorts of terrorist groups based in Afghanistan and to prevent the country from being the terrorism and instability hotspot and spreading to the regional states.

Noted the reports on the reduction in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan caused by successful steps of the current Afghan authorities. Stressed the importance of continuing real and its effective anti-drug policy, including against industrial drug production, which indicate a serious and dangerous increase.

Called on the current Afghan authorities to step up cooperation with the regional countries in the fight against the threats of terrorism and drug-trafficking emanating from the Afghan territory. Most participants stressed their opposition to the support for terrorism in Afghanistan by external forces.

Regretfully stated that there had been no progress in forming a truly inclusive government in Afghanistan, reflecting the interests of all ethno-political groups of the country. Despite the appointment of some individual representatives of various Afghan ethnicities to the Kabul administration, the parties observed no political pluralism in it. Once again urged the current Afghan authorities to establish a practical, outcome-oriented dialogue with the representatives of alternative ethno-political groups with a view to completing the process of peaceful settlement and forging a balanced, more broad-based, inclusive, accountable and responsible government in Afghanistan.

Called upon the current Afghan authorities to provide the necessary conditions to improve the welfare of the Afghan people, prevent their further migration and provide conditions for the return of the refugees.

The participants spoke out for respect of fundamental rights and freedoms in Afghanistan, including equal rights to work, education and justice, without distinction as to gender, ethnicity or religion. Stressed upon their concern about imposed restrictions on women’s employment and girls’ education. Urged the current Afghan authorities to promote the modern education in the schools conforming to international standards.

Most of the participants of the Moscow format noted the UN Secretary General’s efforts to coordinate actions between international and regional partners on the Afghan track during the meeting of Special Representatives in Doha in May 2023 and observed that cooperation with non-regional players is possible if the US-led Western coalition, whose 20-year actions led to the current crisis in Afghanistan, recognizes and shoulders its responsibility for post-conflict reconstruction of the country, and unfreeze the Afghan national assets and lift unilateral sanctions, immediately.

he parties advocated for Afghanistan as an independent, united and peaceful state. They underscored the unacceptability of deployment of military infrastructure facilities of third countries in Afghanistan and its neighboring states under any pretext.

While appreciating the prospects for the development of regional economic projects with participation of Afghanistan, emphasized the need to strengthen bilateral and multilateral economic ties.

The parties reaffirmed the opposition to attempts at politicizing humanitarian assistance and highlighted the importance of continuing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Expressed their interest for expanding engagement with the current Afghan authorities in the areas of culture, sport and education.

The parties noted the proposal of I.R.Iran to strengthen regional cooperation on Afghanistan by establishing a regional contact group to discuss the issues of common interests.

By Andrei Balitskil