Statement by the Office of MoFA Spokesperson in Response to Media Questions about the Recent Remarks of the Special Envoy of the Russian Federation for Afghanistan
KABUL – The Russian Federation has been a friend and a counterpart of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and has sided with our government and people in the fight against terrorism and narcotics for the past 20 years and has played an important role in rebuilding our country.
The Government of Afghanistan has continuously appreciated the Russian Federation for its sincere contributions. We also emphasize that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is and will continue to be committed to constructive and long-term cooperation with Russia in pursuing the common interests of the two countries in the fight against terrorism and narcotics, peace and stability, and regional economic ties and connectivity.
It is based on these common interests that we have welcomed the principled position of the friendly country of Russia in opposing the revival of the so-called "Emirate" and the lifting of UN sanctions against the Taliban, resumption of the peace talks, reduction of violence, and paving the way for a comprehensive political settlement commensurate with the will of the Afghan people as also pointed out by Mr. Kabulov in his recent interview.
However, some of Mr. Zamir Kabulov's recent views are inconsistent with the current realities of Afghanistan and, in many cases, contradict the official statements of the friendly country of Russia. We point out a few instances as follows:
The unjustified exaltation of a "banned group in Russia" is in fact in clear contradiction with Russia's desire to fight the threat of extremism and terrorism in the region and to achieve a lasting peace based on the will of the Afghan people, thus incompatible with the common interests of Afghanistan and Russia.
The Government of Afghanistan is an official member of the United Nations and has diplomatic relations with all countries, including the Russian Federation, and fulfills all its international obligations as a responsible government. Such a government cannot be equated with a group that seeks to seize power through coercion and massacre of its own people and openly cooperates with international terrorism, and is also recognized as a banned terrorist group by the Russian Federation and is subject to UN Security Council sanctions.
Contrary to Mr. Kabulov's claims, the Afghan government has never delayed or wavered in negotiations, but it was the Taliban who left the negotiating table. In accordance with the peace-seeking will of the Afghan people and relying on the Taliban's commitment to the international community, the Government of Afghanistan released more than 6,000 Taliban prisoners to pave the way for negotiations. The release of such a number of prisoners as a goodwill gesture to start and advance the peace talks is entirely unprecedented. The Taliban pledged that the prisoners would never return to the battlefield and that the Taliban would begin negotiations in good faith and discuss the ceasefire. But for now, it is evident that the Taliban have violated their commitments, not the Afghan government.
Mr. Kabulov also said the Taliban were "almost flawless" in fulfilling their agreement with the United States. While the entire world knows that the Taliban have violated their four major commitments to (1) sever ties with terrorists, (2) reduce violence, (3) continue meaningful negotiations, and (4) not allow the released fighters to return to the battlefield.
We also term incorrect Mr. Kabulov's statement about the Taliban's control over a third of Afghanistan's territory. Launching terrorist attacks and killing people in different areas does not mean having control over those regions.
Mr. Kabulov's prescription for a transitional "coalition government" is in stark contrast to what he said earlier in the interview regarding the Afghans' rights to self-determination and leaving Afghanistan's future to the Afghans themselves.
The Government of Afghanistan's position is that our people have the right and power to determine the fate of their government based on the free will of the nation through elections in accordance with the Constitution of the country.
Another contradiction in Mr. Kabulov's remarks is that on the one hand, he considers the Taliban a "national" and domestic group, and on the other hand, he says that Pakistan has provided support and shelter to the Taliban.
In conclusion, we place great emphasis on the important role of Russia in regional issues and call for continued cooperation between the two countries to realize our common national and regional interests. At the same time, we want to strengthen our common understanding of the situation and the effectiveness of cooperation between the two countries by increasing our diplomatic contacts and discussions.