Iran hosting a multilateral meeting to discuss Afghanistan; Six countries invited

By: |
October 26, 2021 6:14 PM

Six foreign ministers from regional neighbours of Afghanistan including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and China besides hosts Iran and Russia are going to be present.

Iran has in the past supported the Taliban and held a meeting with them beginning this year prior to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. (Credit: Reuters)

Close on the heels of the recently concluded meeting in Russia on Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Tehran is hosting a multilateral meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours.

Six foreign ministers from regional neighbours of Afghanistan including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and China besides hosts Iran and Russia are going to be present. All the countries invited except Russia share borders with war torn Afghanistan. However, the attendance of any Taliban leader from Afghanistan has not been confirmed yet. Notable nations with varied interests in Afghanistan omitted from the conference are India and Turkey.”

Sharing his views with Financial Express Online Indian Army veteran Maj Gen Nalin Bhatia, says, “Since assuming control of the country, Afghanistan has seen emergence of new fault lines and a major schism between ISIS and Taliban.”

“The seven foreign ministers will be attending the conference to brainstorm as to how to move forward on Afghanistan where the major demand of the international community has been formation of an inclusive government with inclusion of all ethnic groups,” opines Maj Gen Bhatia (retd).

According to him, “As things stand today, the international community has failed to prevail upon the Taliban to lay out a roadmap for inclusive government and participation of women in day to day running of government.”

“The Islamic State Khorasan Province has claimed numerous attacks across Afghanistan targeting predominantly Shia mosques in Kindruz and Kandhar leading to a large number of deaths.

The attacks have exacerbated ethic and religious fault lines within Afghanistan and there are fears that more such attacks will only lead to further polarisation within an already fractured Afghan society,” he adds.

Why has Iran decided to hold this meeting?

“Iran has in the past supported the Taliban and held a meeting with them beginning this year prior to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. However post August 15, 2021, it has found itself irrelevant with Afghanistan’s new regime refusing to include Shia or Hazaras, having Iranian sympathies as part of the government,” he explains.

What would be the outcome of this meeting?

“It is difficult to predict any positive outcome from the conference given Taliban’s internal dynamics and conflicts without a futuristic outlook,” he says.

“And as far as India is concerned it will keep looking for any opportunity that comes its way in making an inroad into Taliban’s heart,” he concludes.

Background

The announcement regarding the meeting on Oct 27, 2021 was made by Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.

The countries which have a land border with Afghanistan have been invited and also Russia.

According to reports the meeting has been called to take forward the discussions all these six countries had virtually in September related to the growing violence in Afghanistan.

What is the agenda?

All the six are going to discuss how they can all help Afghanistan to have an all inclusive government in that country where all the ethnic groups are present and how they can work towards ensuring peace and security in that country.

What is Iran’s position?

Since the fall of Afghanistan to Taliban 2.0, Iran’s official position is that there should be stability in its eastern neighbouring state and the government formed should be inclusive.

Taliban continues with its violence against the people of that country which is on the brink of human calamity as there is shortage of food, poor health care and growing violence and uncertainty. The Taliban 2.0 has also failed to keep its promise of having an inclusive government which would have women and religious and ethnic groups.

Reports indicate that earlier this year before the fall of Afghanistan, Iran had hosted intra-Afghan talks where Taliban leaders were also present.

Iran has not attended any meeting on Afghanistan which has been called by the US. Tehran holds the US responsible for the ongoing violence and instability in that country

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