MOSCOW (Agencies): A gathering of the Moscow format for discussions on Afghanistan has begun in the Russian city of Kazan, addressing topics such as the formation of an inclusive Afghan government and counter-terrorism efforts, as reported by Anadolu Agency.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in his address to the participants, asserted that Western nations have inflicted “irreparable damage” on the Afghan people and should bear the primary responsibility for post-conflict reconstruction in the war-torn nation. He expressed concern over the freezing of Afghan assets by the United States, which are vital for the challenging living conditions faced by the Afghan population. Lavrov also voiced apprehension about non-regional actors seeking to increase their involvement in Afghanistan and reestablish military presence.

Zamir Kabulov, the Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan, stated to reporters on the sidelines of the meeting that Moscow expects Kabul to take additional constructive steps towards forming an ethno-political inclusive government. He suggested that such actions could serve as the foundation for official recognition of the new Afghan leadership.

Meanwhile, the Taliban reported that Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Foreign Minister, informed the meeting that over the past two years, the administration had focused on rebuilding political, security, and economic systems and had intensified efforts against insurgent groups trained by foreign forces.

This session marks the fifth meeting of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan, established in 2017 based on a six-party consultation mechanism involving Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, and Pakistan. The primary objective is to facilitate national reconciliation in Afghanistan and expedite the establishment of peace. The previous, fourth meeting occurred in November 2022 in Moscow, without the participation of the Taliban.

The Moscow format for Afghanistan includes not only Russia but also India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

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