MOSCOW: Regional players are meeting today in Kazan City, Russia, for the fifth Moscow-format meeting to discuss the situation in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Representatives from Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asian states will participate in the meeting.
The US State Department confirmed it would not send a representative, as it is not a member of the Moscow format. However, the meeting will include a delegation from the Afghanistan Taliban, including Taliban foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.
Moscow-Format Focuses on Afghanistan
The Moscow format, established in 2017 by Russia, addresses Afghanistan’s situation. While Kabul is optimistic about the meeting, Moscow has made it clear that considering the Taliban government recognition is not on the agenda.
Commenting on the meeting, Political analyst Wais Naseri suggested that regional countries are primarily concerned about Afghanistan’s security, political, and economic crisis. While these discussions may not result in immediate changes, they reflect the ongoing global concern for Afghanistan’s future.
The international community has consistently called for formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, allowing women and girls to get access to education and employment. However, the Taliban have yet listing to the world demands and even put more restrictions on women.
Parasto Yari, a former advisor for the state ministry for peace and women, emphasized the need for practical action to improve the situation for Afghan women and girls. She urged stakeholders to move beyond discussions and take concrete steps to address the ongoing challenges faced by Afghan women.
The Moscow-format meeting occurs as the Taliban’s relations with regional countries face difficulties. Pakistan has expressed concerns about the presence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghanistan, while other nations, including Central Asian states, Russia, and Iran, have criticized the Taliban for the increased drug trafficking and terrorist activities within Afghanistan. The presence of insurgent groups in Afghanistan continues to raise concerns for regional security.
In this context, the Moscow-format meeting represents another attempt by regional actors to assess the situation in Afghanistan and coordinate their responses to the evolving challenges in the country.