New Delhi: India along with 13 other countries has asked the US to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets in order to help its economy that has collapsed since the Taliban takeover of Kabul last year.
The matter was discussed in the fourth meeting of ‘Moscow Format’ talks led by Russia Wednesday.
The US, however, did not participate in the talks and neither representatives of Taliban were present.
Apart from India and Russia, other countries which took part in the talks were China, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Representatives of Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Türkiye were also present.
The participating countries also told the Taliban that establishing military infrastructure facilities of “third countries” in Afghanistan is “unacceptable”.
“Forces responsible for the 20-year military presence in Afghanistan should take on the main financial burden for the post-conflict reconstruction of the Afghan economy for the welfare and well-being of common Afghans without intervention in internal affairs of Afghanistan,” said a joint statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
It also said that “all sections of Afghan society have requested in common that the US unfreeze overseas assets and urged to take all necessary steps to release the blocked Afghan national reserves. Most of the delegations agreed to make a call to compensate for the damage caused to the Afghan people during the years of US – NATO presence.”
New Delhi was represented by J. P. Singh, Joint Secretary of Pakistan- Afghanistan-Iran division, Ministry of External Affairs. On the sidelines of the talks, Singh also held discussions with Special Envoys for Afghanistan of the participating countries.
The countries also asked the Taliban to not allow Afghanistan to “serve as a breeding ground, safe haven or source of proliferation for terrorism” and condemned the terror attacks targeting innocent civilians at public places, including educational institutes, and the recent attack at the Russian Embassy in Kabul.
“It was stressed that the placement of military infrastructure facilities of third countries in Afghanistan and in adjacent states is unacceptable,” the member countries said.
Don’t put your land, air at disposal of others: Taliban
The Taliban, while expressing discontent for not being invited to the talks, “strongly urged” the attendees to not allow other countries to use their own land or air space against Afghanistan.
“We want to underscore that Islamic Emirate — just as it fought against the 20-year occupation posing a direct threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan and the region — as an independent government will not allow any third country to place military facilities in Afghanistan. Similarly, we strongly urge other countries to not put their land and airspace at the disposal of other countries against Afghanistan,” the Afghan Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
It also said that the interim Taliban regime is an “accountable government” and has taken “serious steps against antagonistic groups.”
(Edited by Tony Rai)