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Atmar Visits Moscow to Discuss Afghan Peace

KABUL – Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Wednesday left Kabul for Moscow on the invitation of Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov for a three-day visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced.
The trip’s aim is to expand bilateral relations and strengthen regional and international support for Afghan peace and to increase cooperation in the joint fight against terrorism and organized crime in the region, the MoFA said in a statement.
Atmar plans to meet Lavrov and a number of high-ranking Russian government officials, it said.
Atmar is making this trip five days after the remarks by Russian envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, who said he favors an inclusive and transitional coalition government in Afghanistan and that the Taliban have not violated their deal with the United States.
MoFA said that some remarks by Mr. Kabulov were “not based on realities in Afghanistan” and in some ways were contrary to official statements by the Russian Federation, which Kabul sees as a “friend.”
The ministry said that the unjustifiable exaggerations of “a forbidden group in Russia” is in contravention of Russia’s willingness to fight against the threat of terrorism and extremism in the region and to achieve lasting peace based on the demand of Afghans. The ministry added that such remarks do not match the two countries’ mutual interests.
The ministry said that the Afghan government is a UN member and it enjoys diplomatic relations with all countries, including Russia, and is fulfilling all its international commitments as a responsible government.
Contrary to Mr. Kabulov’s claims, the Afghan government has never delayed the peace talks, but it was the Taliban who left the negotiating table, said the ministry.
“The Afghan government freed more than 6,000 Taliban prisoners due to its will for peace while trusting the Taliban’s commitment to the international community to open the way for talks,” MoFA said. “The release of the prisoners to show goodwill and to begin the talks is unprecedented.”
The ministry said that the Taliban promised that their prisoners will never return to the battlefield and that they will begin talks on ceasefire; however, right now, it is quite evident that the Taliban have not fulfilled their commitments, not the Afghan government.
Kabulov also said that the Taliban are “flawlessly” adhering to the terms of a 2020 peace deal with the United States to help end the war in Afghanistan and is urging Washington not to renege on its commitments.
MoFA said that Kabulov’’s remarks on the Taliban’s controlling three-fourth of the country’s territory are incorrect, adding that “conducting terrorist attacks and killing the people in different areas does not mean they are controlling those areas.”
The ministry also reacted to Kabulov’s remark on an inclusive and transitional coalition government, saying that the Afghan government’s stance is that “our people have the right and the ability to determine their fate through elections and in accordance with the country’s Constitution.”
(Sahar News)

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