Regional Powers Call for Inclusive Afghan Government: Kazan Declaration 2023

In a significant diplomatic assembly, special representatives and high-ranking officials from key nations, including Russia, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, and several Central Asian states, convened in Kazan to discuss the future of Afghanistan. The primary focus was on the urgent need for Afghanistan’s authorities to establish a representative, all-inclusive government structure, reflecting the diverse ethnic and political landscape within the nation.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister, actively participated in the discussions, underscoring the country’s commitment to regional stability and cooperation. Notably, invited guests Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, lent their support to the proceedings.

The consensus among attendees was clear: immediate and unconditional release of Afghan assets held by Washington and its allies is imperative for the nation’s economic recovery post-conflict. Additionally, the assembly emphatically rejected any return of US and NATO military forces to Afghanistan or its neighboring regions under any pretext.

A pivotal aspect of the declaration was the shared determination to intensify counter-terrorism and anti-drug efforts. The attendees pledged to continue humanitarian aid to Afghanistan while urging the Afghan authorities to enhance cooperation with regional countries in combating terrorism and drug trafficking. Special emphasis was placed on dismantling terrorist groups within Afghanistan, with a particular focus on ISIS, and preventing the nation from becoming a breeding ground for instability.

The declaration acknowledged the reduction in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, a testament to the Afghan authorities’ effective anti-drug measures. It stressed the importance of sustaining these efforts to tackle the menace of drug production comprehensively.

Expressing deep concern about the limited progress in forming an inclusive Afghan government, the declaration urged the current authorities to engage in meaningful dialogues with representatives from diverse ethnic and political groups. This inclusive approach aims for a balanced, broad-based, and accountable administration in Afghanistan.

The declaration underscored the imperative of respecting fundamental rights and freedoms in Afghanistan, particularly emphasizing equal access to education and employment regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion. It voiced concerns about restrictions on women’s employment and girls’ education, urging the Afghan authorities to promote modern, internationally aligned education standards.

Moreover, the declaration recognized the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to coordinate actions among international and regional partners. It emphasized that cooperation with non-regional players is possible if the US-led Western coalition acknowledges its role in Afghanistan’s current crisis. This acknowledgment includes unfreezing Afghan national assets and lifting unilateral sanctions promptly.

Additionally, the declaration opposed the deployment of military infrastructure facilities from third countries in Afghanistan and its neighboring states under any pretext. The assembly stressed the importance of strengthening economic ties and preventing the politicization of humanitarian assistance, while supporting Iran’s proposal to establish a regional contact group for enhanced cooperation on Afghan matters of common interest.

The Kazan Declaration of 2023 stands as a collective commitment to Afghanistan’s independence, unity, and peace, with the shared objective of fostering stability and prosperity in the region.