China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran FMs hold talks on Afghan issue
Updated 23:27, 13-Apr-2023

Foreign Ministers from China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran on Thursday held the second informal meeting on the Afghan issue in Uzbekistan.

Chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, the countries came to several agreements, including calling for the U.S. to lift its unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan and appealing to the Afghan authorities to build an inclusive government that protects the interests of all people, including women, children and ethnic minorities.

At the meeting, Qin hailed China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran's joint efforts to ensure the smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan but also pointed out that while "the war in Afghanistan has ended, the Afghan problem is far from being solved."

Qin said that China recently released "The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper" and "China's Position on the Afghan Issue," which advocates a spirit of solidarity to adapt to the profoundly adjusted international landscape, a win-win mindset to deal with the complex and intertwined security challenges, and reaffirms a political approach to promote the resolution of international regional hotspot issues such as Afghanistan.

Promoting a political solution to the Afghan issue should abandon the Cold-War mentality of bloc confrontation and adhere to the principle of indivisible security, the Chinese foreign minister noted.

He pointed out China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran should unite and cooperate to encourage the international community to pay more attention to the security issues related to terrorism in Afghanistan.

Qin also called for building consensus and synergy to combat the "three forces," to help Afghanistan effectively deal with the terrorist threat and draw a clear line with terrorist forces.

He urged efforts to encourage and support Afghanistan to follow a modernization path that is in line with its national conditions, adding China is willing to help Afghanistan to turn their land-locked country into a land-linked one under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and through extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor (CCWAEC) to Afghanistan.

Taking a comprehensive, balanced and objective view

When asked to comment on Afghan authorities' recent decision to ban Afghan women from working with the United Nations in Afghanistan, Qin voiced concern over the issue.

However, Qin also told reporters at the press conference after the meeting that although the issue of women's rights and interests is important, it is not the whole problem of Afghanistan, nor is it the core and root cause of the Afghan problem.

The international community should look at the Afghan issue in a comprehensive, balanced and objective manner, he stressed, adding the Afghan problem needs a comprehensive and systematic solution.

Only with social stability, controllable security and economic development can women's rights be fundamentally protected, Qin said.

China advocates that the international community continue to help Afghanistan develop its economy and improve people's livelihood, continue to provide humanitarian and development assistance, the Chinese foreign minister noted.

He also called for guiding and promoting moderate and prudent governance in Afghanistan through dialogue and communication, so as to effectively protect the basic rights and interests of all Afghan people, including women and children and ethnic minorities.

U.S. should draw lessons from Afghan issue

The White House recently released a report about the decisions made regarding the 2021 U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, largely blaming the former U.S. administration and bad intelligence for the chaos.

Responding to the report, Qin at the press conference said the U.S. failure in Afghanistan is a military failure, a political failure, as well as a counter-terrorism failure.

He stressed that the military withdrawal does not mean that the responsibility is set aside, and the investigation report does not mean that the U.S.' disgraceful acts in Afghanistan have come to an end.

The U.S. side cannot sit back and ignore the current hardship of the Afghan people, and the Afghanistan's hard-earned money forcibly withheld by the U.S. must be returned as soon as possible, Qin added.

The Chinese foreign minister hoped the U.S. side will draw a lesson from what happened in Afghanistan, saying neither should the U.S. judge or interfere in other countries' systems by Western standards, nor should it seek to reset military forces in Afghanistan and the region, let alone support and utilize terrorism.

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