Wednesday was the day of record diplomatic activity regarding the Afghan problem. The online meeting was held by representatives of 22 countries of the world, mainly Western ones. And the neighboring countries of Afghanistan responded to Pakistan’s initiative and discussed the situation in their own circle, which could develop into a “permanent consultative mechanism.” Russia did not take part in any of these negotiations and, on the whole, is still taking a wait-and-see attitude. As the Kremlin said on Wednesday, Moscow plans to “closely follow the steps of the new government” of Afghanistan, on the eve of the Taliban terrorist movement formed by members of the Russian-banned terrorist movement.
The day after the announcement of the composition of the interim government of Afghanistan, which consists entirely of authoritative representatives of the Taliban movement, the world players hastened to express their attitude towards him. “We drew attention to the list of names, which includes only members of the Taliban or their close associates, but at the same time there is not a single woman. We are also concerned about the connections and track record of some of them, “the US State Department said, in particular, promising to nevertheless judge the Taliban” by deeds, not words. “
Russia and China were also very restrained, although their Taliban are among the three most friendly countries along with Pakistan. “Contacts (with the Taliban – Kommersant ) through our embassy in Kabul are being carried out,” Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian President, said on Wednesday. “These are contacts that are necessary to ensure the safety of our diplomats and on other technical issues. No other negotiations are planned yet. Now Russia, like the overwhelming majority of countries, will closely monitor the steps that the new government will take. “
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed approximately the same spirit. At the same time, the representative of the department Wang Wenbin also expressed an idea with which Moscow seems to agree. “Recently, there have been a lot of multilateral conferences and initiatives on the Afghan issue in the world, coordination should be strengthened, emphasis should be placed on practical results, meetings should not be held for the sake of meetings, not to mention that such meetings should be used to shift responsibility,” said the diplomat.
Thus, he reacted, among other things, to the online meeting on Afghanistan held on Wednesday. Recall that initially Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi spoke of it as a meeting of the ministers of the G7 countries with additionally invited representatives of China and Russia. However, on September 5, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made it clear that this was not entirely true: “Two days ago we received signals from Berlin and Paris regarding a certain meeting, but there was no talk of the G7. This was followed by a statement from Tokyo in the context of the G7 ”. As a result, Moscow refused to participate in the meeting. And its format turned out to be even wider: 22 countries took part, as well as representatives of NATO, the EU and the UN.
Moscow perceives its relations with the Taliban at least as regional, and at most as a strategic resource that the Russian authorities will not share with anyone, ” Society of Political Scientists Andrei Serenko. At the same time, the goal of other countries, according to the expert, is “to burden Moscow and Beijing with some kind of obligations.”
Meanwhile, according to Mr. Serenko, the announced composition of the Afghan government proved that Russia has no real influence on the Taliban: “Every single recommendation that Moscow has made to the Taliban over the past two years has been ignored. The government is completely under the control of Pakistan, which, in turn, is influenced by China. “
In parallel with the meeting of the Western countries, Pakistan held its own talks on Afghan issues on Wednesday.
They were attended by the foreign ministers of the neighboring countries of Afghanistan: China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistani Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi proposed turning this format into a “permanent consultative mechanism.”
And he hinted that in the future these countries “might consider inviting Afghanistan” to dialogue. Such a scenario cannot be called improbable: of the listed countries, all except Tajikistan have already established working relations with the Taliban and even opened borders for the transportation of essential goods.
Against this background, two important regional countries – India and Russia, which did not take part in any of the events, looked apart on Wednesday. But they also did not waste time in holding bilateral negotiations. Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev paid a visit to India on September 8 and met with both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his national security adviser Ajit Doval, as well as with Foreign Minister Subramaniam Jaishankar. Afghanistan was the key topic of all meetings.
Meanwhile, in parallel with Mr. Patrushev, the head of the CIA, William Burns, was in Delhi, who also spoke with Ajit Doval. In the media, this prompted the suggestion that Mr. Patrushev, taking this opportunity, could also see his American counterpart. But the Security Council of the Russian Federation denied this information, noting: “Patrushev did not plan to meet and did not meet in Delhi with the head of the CIA.”
However, it is also impossible to say that Russia does not support dialogue with Western partners at all. On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with the head of the European Council Charles Michel, discussing, among other things, Afghanistan. It followed from the Kremlin’s statement that there was complete mutual understanding on this issue (unlike many others). “Both sides stressed the importance of maintaining civil peace in the country and preventing violence, as well as establishing a real inter-Afghan dialogue in order to ensure the integrity of the Afghan state, taking into account the interests of all groups of the population. They expressed their readiness to interact in order to stabilize the situation and prevent the risks of the spread of terrorism, extremism and drug-related crime, “the message said…. These words, perhaps, would have been signed by the participants in all the other meetings held on Wednesday.