Russia, China and Pakistan have agreed to work together to get Afghan Taliban individuals delisted from the UN sanctions list.
According to a press release issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry following Tuesday’s meeting in Moscow between the three countries, delegates also met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.
The statement indicated that “Russia and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, reaffirmed their readiness for flexible approaches to the prospect of excluding certain individuals from the list of sanctioned persons as part of efforts to promote a peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement.”
Pointing towards what they said was a “worsening security situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” the delegates said they were “especially worried about intensifying activities by extremist groups in that country, including the Afghan branch of ISIS (Daesh).”
According to the statement, the participants agreed to continue efforts to assist in furthering the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan, based on the key role of the Afghans - “in line with the principles of integrating the armed opposition into peaceful life.”
The participants agreed to continue consultations in an expanded format and said they would like to see Afghanistan take part.
This was the third round of trilateral consultations on regional problems – with the focus on Afghanistan.
Kabul was not however invited to any of the meetings – a move that sparked strong reaction.
This also comes after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month asked the United Nations to add the name of the Taliban’s new leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, to the sanctions list.
Earlier on Tuesday, Afghan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said Kabul had not been properly briefed about the Moscow meeting.
"Discussions about the situation in Afghanistan, even if well-intentioned, in the absence of Afghans cannot help the real situation and also raises serious questions about the purpose of such meetings," he said.
Afghan foreign ministry meanwhile has said that no source except the government of Afghanistan has the authority to ask for the removal of or inclusion of names of Afghan nationals on the UN blacklist.
“No source except the Afghan government is authorized to ask for the removal or inclusion of names of Afghan nationals to the UN sanctions list and this is also applied to the Taliban,” said Ahmad Shekib Mustaghni, MoFA spokesman.
Some Afghan political commentators have also said that the meeting is a clear interference in Afghanistan’s internal matters.
“The foundation of war against terrorism should be based on inter-governmental relations, if such things happen, there will be victory in the war,” said Afghan national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar.
“They focus on those Taliban who act against the policies of the United States and the west and central government in Kabul and believe that they would be helpful for the interests of Russia and Pakistan,” said political analyst Jawed Kohistani.
“It indicates clear meddling in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, Russia in cooperation with Pakistan pursue the objectives which can futher complicate the issues in Afghanistan and push the US into a corner,” legal expert Nasrullah Stanekzai said.
“The big part of this that concerns us is the public engagements that the Russians had with the Taliban because it does provide legitimacy to the Taliban and our very strong view is that the entire region and all efforts need to be focused on supporting the government of Afghanistan, again this is the government chosen by the people of Afghanistan leading the country of Afghanistan and they will be the ones that have got to come up with appropriate solutions,” NATO spokesman in Afghanistan Charles T. Cleveland said.