Executive Intelligence Review

FROM EIR DAILY ALERT


Afghanistan Peace Depends on a Regional Solution, Lavrov Stresses at Tashkent Conference

March 28, 2018 (EIRNS)—Representatives of 27 countries and international organizations participated in the International High-Level Conference on Afghanistan: “Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity,” hosted by the Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Tashkent yesterday. The final Tashkent Conference Declaration adopted by the participants included the statement that “it is possible to achieve true peace and stability only by launching a constructive dialogue between the Afghan government and Taliban,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reported.

In his address to the conference, Lavrov pointed to recent “positive dynamics” among the five Central Asian states, including as regards their relations with Afghanistan, as key to carrying out the “common efforts” critical to securing peace in Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan

“continues to deteriorate,” he warned, citing the Taliban’s full or partial control of almost half of that country, another record year of opium poppy production last year, and “the expanding penetration of the Islamic State.”

It is “a direct threat to regional and international security” that ISIS is establishing strongholds in the northern provinces that border the Commonwealth of Independent States countries, where ISIS is training people from Central Asia, Russia and other states, he said.

Lavrov identified two approaches as critical. First, that

“the conflict cannot be resolved by force, no matter which strategies foreign capitals may approve. Ideas of a military solution are disconnected from historical experience and today’s reality. It is possible to achieve true peace and stability only by launching a constructive dialogue between the Afghan government and Taliban.”

Second,

“the importance of the regional context in the Afghan settlement process. As has been demonstrated many times, ‘recipes from afar’ that fail to take into account local traditions and specifics do not help but rather harm. We believe that it is necessary to more actively engage the resources of organizations with Central Asian states as members.”

Specifically cited here were the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

A political settlement will promote economic cooperation in Central Asia, and, in turn, allow Afghanistan to access its neighbor’s expanding markets, he affirmed as well.

Adding to the potential to finally succeed in ending drugs, terrorism and war in Afghanistan, is the participation of the United States in this process. A U.S. delegation led by veteran diplomat Tom Shannon, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, participated in the Tashkent Conference, and endorsed its final declaration, with its clause endorsing a political settlement between the Taliban and government. That policy was signaled by Defense Secretary Mattis in his March 13 visit to Kabul, where he said that the U.S. looks forward to securing victory through “political reconciliation” with the Taliban.

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