Russia is working with the US, China and Pakistan to ensure Taliban keep promises

Russia's foreign minister criticises US for its hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Photo: AFP
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Russia, China, Pakistan and the US are working together to ensure that Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers keep their promises of forming a representative government and preventing extremism from spreading, the Russian foreign minister said on Saturday.

Representatives from Russia, China and Pakistan recently travelled to Qatar and then to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, to meet the Taliban and representatives of former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the ousted government’s negotiating council with the Taliban, AP reported Sergey Lavrov as saying.

The interim government announced by the Taliban does not reflect “the whole gamut of Afghan society — ethno-religious and political forces — so we are engaging in contacts," Mr Lavrov said. "They are ongoing.”

The Taliban had promised an inclusive government and reforms including respecting women’s rights.

Their leaders said they would bring stability after 20 years of war, fighting terrorism and extremism and stopping militants from using their territory to launch attacks.

But recent moves suggest they may be returning to more repressive policies, particularly towards women and girls.

“What’s most important … is to ensure that the promises that they have proclaimed publicly to be kept,” Mr Lavrov said. “And for us, that is the top priority.”

At a news conference and in his speech at the UN General Assembly, Mr Lavrov criticised the Biden administration over its hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The US and Nato pullout “was carried out without any consideration of the consequences … that there are many weapons left in Afghanistan,” he said.

It remains critical, he said, that such weapons aren’t used for destructive purposes.

Later, in his assembly speech, Mr Lavrov accused the US and its western allies of “persistent attempts to diminish the UN’s role in resolving the key problems of today", or to make it a malleable tool for promoting selfish national interests.

Updated: September 26, 2021, 5:39 AM