The foreign ministers of Pakistan, India and Russia on Friday called for a representative government in Afghanistan and the protection of women’s rights, almost two years after the Taliban swept to power in Kabul.
They were speaking at the day-long meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Indian coastal resort state of Goa, just ahead of a meeting scheduled over the weekend in Pakistan between the foreign ministers of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.
“The unfolding situation in Afghanistan remains at the centre of our attention. Our efforts should be directed towards the welfare of the Afghan people,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.
“Our immediate priorities include providing humanitarian assistance, ensuring a truly inclusive and representative government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking, and preserving the rights of women, children and minorities,” he said.
No country has recognised the Taliban who took over Afghanistan in August 2021, after a 20-year insurgency against US-led forces, with a speed and ease that took the world by surprise, following which President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Russia’s Sergei Lavrov said Moscow expected the Taliban leadership to “deliver on their promises to come up with an inclusive government”.
“The assurances that were given in regards of human rights, security in the territory of Afghanistan, and the eradication of terrorist threats, drug trafficking, we are keeping an eye on this,” Lavrov said.
Pakistan’s Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the situation in Afghanistan presents new challenges as well as opportunities.
“After being the playground for great powers, time and time again, we owe it to the people of Afghanistan to not repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said.—Agencies