KABUL – Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, announced on Sunday that the upcoming Moscow format meeting will primarily focus on addressing the challenges currently faced by Afghanistan. This meeting aims to deliberate on strategies to tackle the various issues in Afghanistan and the actions that neighboring countries can take to help.
One of the foremost concerns raised by the citizens of Afghanistan includes poverty, limited access to education, and constraints on the rights and opportunities of girls and women. The meeting, scheduled to take place in the Russian city of Kazan by the end of the week, will bring together Afghanistan’s neighboring nations, including Iran, China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, alongside several other countries.
Lavrov emphasized that the Moscow format meeting would be held in Kazan in the Volga region, deviating from its usual location in Moscow. The central theme of the discussion will revolve around how neighboring countries can contribute to helping Afghanistan overcome its current challenges.
Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special representative for Afghanistan, highlighted that crucial topics on the meeting’s agenda will include inclusive governance, counter-drug efforts, and strategies to combat terrorism. These discussions are particularly relevant as Afghanistan continues to grapple with pressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, the ongoing closure of schools for girls and women, and the restriction of women’s employment in non-governmental organizations. The need for international support to address these challenges remains a persistent demand.
Despite these discussions, there are lingering questions about how the Taliban will engage with the international community to resolve Afghanistan’s issues. Some political analysts argue that the Taliban’s stance on these problems has seen little change over the past two years.
Russia’s active role in Afghanistan’s political landscape is evident through its hosting of such meetings. Notably, the Taliban has confirmed its participation in this meeting, with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting foreign minister of the Taliban, set to represent the group.
The Moscow format meetings were initiated in 2017, with three more convened by Russia following the resurgence of the Taliban after their return to power, underlining Russia’s commitment to addressing the situation in Afghanistan.