The foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, China, and Pakistan held four-way talks on 13 April in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, on the sidelines of the fourth regional meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbors – where various issues and concerns regarding Afghanistan were discussed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, and Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Rabbani Khar were photographed together before proceeding with the closed-door meeting, Russian news agency TASS reported.
Following the meeting, Amir-Abdollahian said that he and the other diplomats discussed a wide range of issues regarding Afghanistan – including a recent surge in extremist activity, problems caused by US sanctions, the poor living conditions of the Afghan people, and the flow of Afghan refugees into Iran and other countries.
The Iranian foreign minister stressed the importance of countering drug trafficking originating in the country, and the Taliban government’s responsibility in that area.
He also strongly criticized the continued ban on female education in the country – which Iran has repeatedly listed as a condition for its recognition of the interim government.
In this regard, the diplomats discussed steps to bring about a political settlement that includes an inclusive government, something Beijing has also consistently called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to implement.
They also discussed ways to stabilize humanitarian and socio-economic conditions in the country – particularly through “the development of regional economic integration and the implementation of transport and energy projects with Kabul’s participation,” TASS said.
In the joint statement released after the meeting, the ministers expressed support for the principle of “Afghan leadership, Afghan ownership” regarding Afghanistan’s political determination and development path, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said.
Afghanistan is currently facing a severe economic and humanitarian situation as a result of Washington’s decision to freeze billions of dollars in the country’s foreign reserves in 2021. This pushed the country into an acute crisis, given that the central bank lacks the resources to combat high inflation and food insecurity – which has become rampant.
The country has also been facing an increased extremist threat through attacks from groups such as ISIS-K.
Moscow has accused the US of encouraging ISIS-K activity in Afghanistan.