Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Russia, China, the United States, and Pakistan all interested in acting as mediators in the Afghan issue, as relief organisations warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe under the new Taliban rulers.
The announcement comes 10 days after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, with Pakistan, India, China, and other regional countries vying for control of the country.
Lavrov was cited by Reuters as suggesting that his nation and others, including Pakistan, might act as mediators in Afghanistan during a news conference during a visit to Hungary. Pakistan is already a member of the Troika conference on Afghanistan, which is headed by the US, China, and Russia.
“We remain committed to the task of establishing peace and stability on Afghanistan’s territory so that it poses no threats to the region,” the foreign minister said, adding that Russia was opposed to the idea of allowing Afghan refugees to enter the ex-Soviet region of Central Asia — located between Russia and Afghanistan — or having US troops deployed there.
“If you think that any country in Central Asia or elsewhere is interested in becoming a target so that the Americans could fulfil their initiatives, I really doubt anyone needs that,” Lavrov said.
Russia has strong connections with the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and considers the area to be part of its area of influence.
On Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi embarked on a regional diplomacy trip that would take him to Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan and convey Pakistan’s position.
His visit, according to the foreign minister, would encourage a coordinated regional strategy and enhance Pakistan’s involvement with Central and West Asia.
“Pakistan believes that the neighboring countries have a vital stake in the peace, security and stability of Afghanistan and the region,” a statement released by Qureshi’s office on Tuesday said. “It is important to coordinate closely with the neighbors to address common challenges and advance shared goals of peace, security, stability and regional connectivity.”
Last week, Qureshi talked on the phone with his Russian colleague on the situation in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan and Russia, as part of Troika Plus, had made valuable contributions to these efforts,” Qureshi said as the two figures agreed to continue working closely through the Troika format.
Since the Taliban took control of Kabul, tens of thousands of Afghans fleeing persecution have flooded the airport, with the fortunate ones obtaining seats on planes, mainly organised by Western countries, that have so far evacuated at least 70,000 people.
The Taliban said all foreign evacuations from the country must be completed by August 31, and asked the United States to stop urging talented Afghans to leave the country. It has also told the Afghans crowding the airport in the hope of boarding flights that they had nothing to fear and should go home.