Russian Envoy Warns of Explosions in Afghanistan if Economic Aid Not Sent
Feb. 2 (EIRNS)—Members of the “Extended Troika” —Russia, China, Pakistan and the U.S. — a diplomatic format set up to coordinate policy on Afghanistan, are currently working out the date for their next meeting, which should take place before the end of February, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department, Zamir Kabulov, told TASS news agency on Jan. 31. He also reported that a number of other nations, including Japan, are preparing to reopen their embassies in Kabul, which will help gradually normalize the situation in Afghanistan, while laying the groundwork for restoring ties between the country’s new leadership and other countries, he noted.
Russia is focusing its efforts on “completion of the inter-Afghan peace process” (which requires, for one, an “ethnically-balanced government,” Kabulov said), as well as how the international community can participate “in the inclusive post-conflict rehabilitation” of Afghanistan. To help foster the peace process, Russia would be happy to host talks in Moscow between representatives of the Taliban government and domestic opposition forces, should they wish to do so, the envoy told TASS.
There are reports that such talks did begin. A source “close to the Resistance Front” —the Tajik-Afghani force led by Ahmad Massoud— told Afghanistan’s Tolo News yesterday that Russia had mediated a meeting recently in Moscow between Massoud and the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Taliban government, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The meeting remains unconfirmed, however; there is “no official information … about the trip of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to any country,” a government press spokesman told Tolo News.
Massoud did meet with acting Afghan Foreign Minister Mutaqqui in Tehran a few weeks ago, a meeting which Kabulov told TASS had “ended inconclusively.” But in Kabulov’s view, “nevertheless, the very instance of such a meeting inspires optimism. It was an indication that the Taliban authorities have given serious thought to making the new government more balanced in ethnic and political terms.”
But without economic aid, Afghanistan could blow up, he warned. Terrorism declined sharply when the Taliban first came in, he told TASS. “However, in autumn, with no money in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s counter-terrorist potential began to falter, and terrorists of all kinds began to reappear.” There is a lull in terrorism now, because of winter, but come Spring, he warned, the “probability” of “large-scale resistance” cannot be ruled out. Kabulov cited the potential for inter-ethnic conflict, “which is fraught with active armed actions,” and insisted: “It is important for the Taliban movement and the international community right now to take utmost efforts primarily to stabilize the social and economic situation inside the country.”