Regional powers back aid Afghanistan as Russia hosts talks for Taliban

To help Afghanistan stave off economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe, the new Taliban regime has won backing from 10 regional powers at talks held in Moscow, Russia for the idea of a United Nations donor conference, Al Jazeera reported.

Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Iran and central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on Wednesday joined the Taliban in calling for the UN to convene such a conference soon in order to help rebuild the nation.

They said it should take place “with the understanding, of course, that the main burden … should be borne by the forces whose military contingents have been present in this country over the past 20 years”.

This reference was pointed to the United States and its allies, who invaded Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks and whose abrupt withdrawal facilitated the Taliban to seize back control of the country in August, this year.

Meanwh, US did not attend the talks, citing technical reasons, but said that it may join future rounds.

Conscious that any spillover of conflict from Afghanistan could threaten regional stability, Russia has led the calls for international aid.

The resurgence of Taliban has sparked international fears of a return to their hardline rule in the 1990s, when they had hosted Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda movement and conducted extreme human rights violations, along with public stonings and the marginalisation of women at work and schools.

After returning to power, the Taliban said they have moved quickly on opening up their government and have guaranteed women’s rights, and that they do not represent a threat to any other nation.

Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said, “Afghanistan will never allow its soil to be used as a base for anyone to threaten the security of another country.”

“Isolating Afghanistan is in no one’s interests, and the meeting was very important for the stability of the entire region,” the deputy prime minister leading the delegation, Abdul Salam Hanafi was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

While several governments worldwide, including Russia declined to give official recognition to the Taliban government, the communique recognised the “new reality” of their ascent to power.

(Inputs from agencies)

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