Pakistan avoided participation in a regional security meeting on Afghanistan hosted by Russia over its continued objections about India’s participation and concerns that its agenda was much wider than only Afghanistan.
Addressing a press briefing on Friday, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said her country could contribute more at forums that “contribute constructively” to peace in Afghanistan.
“We will continue to participate in all these mechanisms to their full potential and will continue to engage with our partners to contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Baloch added.
She said Islamabad’s decision not to participate in the meeting was made “in light of our consideration that Pakistan can make a better contribution in formats and forums which can contribute constructively to peace in Afghanistan.“
Baloch added that Pakistan will continue to participate in all these mechanisms to their full potential “and will continue to engage with our partners to contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
Regional Secretaries of Security Councils and National Security Advisors came together in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan, including the threat of terrorism and the issue of weapons abandoned by foreign troops during the withdrawal in August 2021.
Discussions were also held on the security situation in the country and the humanitarian crisis. Top security officials from Russia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended the meeting.
This was the fifth meeting of security council heads from countries in the region – the 5th Regional Dialogue on Afghanistan.
Addressing participants, India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said that terrorism has become a major threat to the region and that dealing with terror groups such as Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed require intensified intelligence and security cooperation between respective countries and their agencies.
He said India will never abandon the people of Afghanistan in their time of need and pointed out India’s ongoing assistance in helping to provide food security and medical supplies.
Taliban officials were not invited to the meeting, which came amid a period of increased attacks attributed to Daesh in recent months, including an attack on the embassies of Russia and Pakistan and an attack on a hotel in Kabul city where Chinese nationals were staying.