On March 26 and 27, Tashkent will host the International High-Level Conference on Afghanistan, Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity, which Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit.
The conference agenda includes discussions on the current aspects of a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan, regional security cooperation as well as Afghanistan’s involvement in integration processes in Central Asia and beyond it.
We support the Tashkent conference on a settlement in Afghanistan as an event that meets the goals that are promoted by the Moscow format and the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group and hope that it will attain its goals.
We believe that the fundamental principles of these formats, such as regional representation as well as honest and equal interaction of all international partners based on respect for the national interests of all the regional countries and using the potential of respected organisations, primarily the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), are very well suited to the goal of launching an intra-Afghan peace dialogue. We reaffirm our firm support for Kabul’s policy of promoting cooperation with the SCO.
We are alarmed by the growing number of terrorist activities being carried out by the Taliban who stage armed attacks across Afghanistan, as well as by the increased ISIS presence in Afghanistan’s northern provinces that border CIS countries.
We are concerned about reports regarding the use of helicopters without any identification marks in many parts of Afghanistan that are delivering terrorists and arms to the Afghan branch of this terrorist organisation. We believe that reports to this effect made by Afghan officials should be thoroughly investigated.
The regional countries also face common challenges in the fight against drug trafficking. The production of opium poppy in Afghanistan reached a record-high level last year. Large amounts of Afghan heroin are delivered to Russia via Central Asian countries. Afghan drugs are used to provide financial assistance to terrorists and extremists in Afghanistan as well as beyond it.
We reaffirm our resolve to continue to promote interaction with Afghanistan in the fight against the terrorist and drug threats in close cooperation with our regional partners. We will continue to help Afghanistan to develop a combat ready army and a police force and we will also assist in training Afghan military and police personnel at the relevant Russian educational establishments.