Sep 08, 2021 15:27 UTC
  • FMs of Afghanistan neighbors hold virtual summit as Taliban announce government

Foreign ministers of countries neighboring Afghanistan have held a virtual meeting to discuss the latest developments following the Taliban’s takeover of the country and the withdrawal of US-led forces.

According to Press TV, the meeting, attended by foreign ministers of Iran, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, was held via video conference on Wednesday, a day after the Taliban militant group announced an all-male interim government in the war-torn country.

The summit came about following consultations between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his counterparts from China, Russia and Pakistan in recent days.

In an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday afternoon that the virtual meeting followed a meeting of the Special Representatives of the six neighboring countries for Afghanistan.

Saeed Khatibzadeh said the main agenda of the meeting was how to contribute to the fulfillment of the will of all Afghans and the achievement of peace and stability in the country.

Sharing details about the meeting, he said the Iranian foreign minister blamed the 20-year US occupation of Afghanistan as the main culprit for the current situation in the country.

Amir-Abdollahian also called for efforts to tap into the potentials of Afghan leaders and people, along with assistance from Afghanistan’s neighbors, to achieve lasting peace in the country, the spokesperson said.  

Citing the Iranian minister, Khatibzadeh said the use of military force would only be a repetition of the same mistake that has happened several times in the contemporary history of Afghanistan.

“Mr. Amir-Abdollahian emphasized in this meeting that everyone should stick to dialogue as a fundamental principle, and the neighboring countries should also help prevent foreign interference in this country,” he added.

During the meeting, diplomats also stressed the importance of providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and respect for international law and international human rights law, the official said, adding that the issue of terrorism in Afghanistan was a serious concern of the neighboring countries

The Taliban, the participants agreed, should distance themselves from terrorism and not allow the scourge to re-emerge in the country, Khatibzadeh said.

Khatibzadeh reaffirmed Iran's priority to help “fulfill the will of the Afghan people, to establish stability and peace in the country, and to form an inclusive government that reflects the ethnic and demographic composition of the country.”

He concluded that it was agreed that the next meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan's neighboring countries will be held in person in Tehran within a month or two if the coronavirus pandemic allows it.

Meanwhile, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, has said the new caretaker government will be led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

He also named 33 members of the new government, drawn exclusively from the group’s inner echelons, and said the remaining posts will be announced after careful deliberation.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in a sweeping offensive more than three weeks ago as US-led foreign forces withdrew.

The militants are currently engaged in intense fighting in the Panjshir Valley in the east of Afghanistan, an anti-Taliban bastion and the last holdout region in the country.