‘Only Inclusive Dialogue with All Key Forces,’ Can Bring Afghanistan Back to Normal, Recommends Lavrov
Aug. 18, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned against any attempt to impose any form of governance on Afghanistan, during the Q&A following his remarks with faculty and students at the during a meeting with the faculty and students at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, in Kaliningrad, yesterday.
Lavrov gave an extensive response to a question about Russia’s relation to Afghanistan, which included the following:
“When I became Foreign Minister in 2004, Afghanistan was the first country I visited in this capacity. ...We know this country well, and we have become convinced that trying to impose any other form of government on this country would be counterproductive. The Americans tried to establish what they called a ‘democracy’ there, just like in any other country.... What norms can there be in Afghanistan, if during all election campaigns several million refugees voted from Pakistan? Ballot papers were carried to this country by donkey, and then filled in without any observers, be it from the OSCE or anyone else. Then the ballots were shipped back in bags on backs of donkeys through mountain passes and trails....
“In this context, it would be naive to pretend that the people of Afghanistan can live by the Western precepts. Once again, this is an attempt to impose one’s so-called ‘values’ on the rest of the world, while totally ignoring centuries-old traditions of other countries.
“I believe this to be the main mistake. We are convinced, and have known this for a long time, that bringing the situation in Afghanistan back to normal is possible only through inclusive dialogue involving all the key forces,”
After the event at the IKBFU, Lavrov responded to questions from the media. Answering a media question about Russia’s relation to the Taliban, Lavrov explained:
“Just like all other countries, we are not in a hurry to recognize them. Just yesterday, I spoke with Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi. Our positions overlap. We are seeing encouraging signals from the Taliban, who are saying they want to have a government with the participation of other political forces.... We are observing positive processes on the streets of Kabul, where the situation is fairly calm and the Taliban are effectively enforcing law and order. But it is too early to talk about any unilateral political steps on our part. We support the beginning of an all-encompassing national dialogue with the participation of all Afghan political ethnic and religious forces. Former President Hamid Karzai and Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah have already spoken in favor of this process. They are in Kabul. They came up with this proposal. One of the leaders of northern Afghanistan, Mr. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has joined this initiative as well. Literally these days, as I understand, maybe even as we speak, a dialogue with a Taliban representative is going on. I hope it will lead to an agreement whereby the Afghans will form inclusive transitional bodies as an important step towards fully normalizing the situation in this long-suffering country.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a press conference that the U.S. was in touch with both Russia and China on the Afghan matter. “Well, first we, of course, are in touch with the Chinese and the Russians as we work to bring men and women out of Afghanistan and including our SIV applicants and others,” she stated. “Our objective in Afghanistan is to deliver also on what the president promised, which is to not put the men and women who have served our country bravely over the past 20 years in harm’s way again.”