Moscow format meeting to focus on addressing challenges facing Afghanistan, says Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday that the forthcoming Moscow format meeting will focus on discussing strategies to address challenges facing Afghanistan.

Lavrov stated that the meeting will delve into the actions neighboring countries can take to tackle Afghanistan’s problems.

Among the primary concerns voiced by Afghanistan citizens are poverty, the lack of access to education, and restrictions on the rights and opportunities of girls and women.

Scheduled to convene in the Russian city of Kazan by the week’s end, the Moscow format meeting will involve Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, including Iran, China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, along with several other nations.

“The Moscow format will be held in Kazan [Volga region] instead of Moscow. We expect to discuss how neighboring countries can help Afghanistan overcome its current problems,” Lavrov said.

Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special representative for Afghanistan, highlighted that inclusive governance, counter-drug efforts, and counter-terrorism strategies will be pivotal topics on the agenda for the sixth Moscow format meeting.

The people of Afghanistan continue to grapple with pressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, the ongoing closure of schools for girls and women, and the prohibition of women’s work in non-governmental organizations. Calls for international support to address these challenges persist.

Nevertheless, questions loom regarding how the Taliban will engage with the international community to resolve Afghanistan’s issues. Some political analysts contend that the Taliban’s stance on addressing these problems has remained largely unchanged over the past two years.

Russia’s active involvement in Afghanistan’s political landscape is underscored by its hosting of such meetings. The Taliban has confirmed its participation in the meeting, with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting foreign minister of the Taliban, set to represent the group.

The Moscow format meetings were initiated in 2017. While two format meetings occurred prior to the Taliban’s return to power, Russia has since convened three more meetings under the Moscow format following the Taliban’s resurgence.