New Delhi : Security chiefs of India, Russia, Iran and five Central Asian countries on Wednesday deliberated here on the way forward in Afghanistan on how to tackle the terrorist threats emanating from that country and to help the Afghan people tide over the huge humanitarian crisis, as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said that the developments in Afghanistan have important implications not only for the people of that country but also for its neighbours and the region.
In his opening remarks at the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan, addressing the security chiefs of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Doval said that this is a time for close consultations among the countries of the region, and for greater cooperation, and coordination.
He noted that this is the third meeting of the process that was initiated by Iran in 2018, with the second meeting held in Tehran in 2019. “And we are grateful to Iran for that.”
“It’s a privilege for India to host the dialogue today with participation of all the Central Asian countries and Russia, who was initiator of the idea (for today’s meeting),” the NSA said.
“We all have been keenly watching developments in Afghanistan. These have important implications not only for the people of Afghanistan but also for its neighbours and the region.
“This is a time for close consultations amongst us, greater cooperation, and interaction and coordination among the regional countries,” he said, expressing confidence that the deliberations would be “productive, useful and contribute to help the people of Afghanistan and enhance our collective security.”
Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani¸ Secretary, Supreme National Security Council of Iran, in his remarks appreciated the role of India in participating in the meetings, and said: “I think India has a great role in Afghanistan”.
He said the meeting will help to discuss “the reasons that have destroyed Afghanistan, the difficulties that have been brought about in the past 20 years in Afghanistan”, referring to the US presence in that country.
He said that Afghanistan today “is involved in terrorism, poverty and misery and the crisis of migration and refugees”. Shamkhani said the solution can come only with the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan with participation of all ethnic groups. “And hope we will be able to determine who would be the force there, and who would host the fourth round (of the dialogue process), and also be able to come up with ideas with what mechanisms we will be able to resolve the issues in Afghanistan.”
“I am happy the Iran meetings have been continued and that we are able to consult with each other,” the Iranian security chief said.
Karim Massimov, Chairman of National Security Committee of Kazakhstan, in his remarks said that Kazakhstan “monitors with high attention the threats and challenges that are coming from Afghanistan. With the Taliban coming to power, the situation in that country remains complicated.
“There are many obstacles to form an effective government system (in Afghanistan). Terrorist organisations are intensifying their activities, we are strongly concerned with the appearance of the Central Asian fighters,” he said.
The Kazakh security chief said the social and economic situation of the Afghans “is deteriorating and the country is facing a humanitarian crisis”.
“It is necessary to increase humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people. Stabilisation of Afghanistan demands the efforts of the whole international community, it is highly important to begin concrete and concerted action by all countries,” he said.
Marat Mukanovich Imankulov, Secretary of the Security Council of Kyrgyzstan, in his brief remarks raised concerns about the activities of terrorist organisations in Afghanistan
“Our joint activities will help to fight extremism, terrorism”, he said, adding that they would also deliberate on the help that they should be extending to the Afghan people besides other issues.
Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, in his remarks said he is convinced that today’s meeting “will give additional impulse to the cooperation between our states in the Afghan dimension and will help in restoration of long-lasting peace in that country”.
Patrushev said that multilateral meetings of the secretaries of security organisations on the Afghan issue (such as the Delhi Dialogue) “is an important format that helps to discuss the developing situation in Afghanistan at the highest level’.
“It also helps to deliberate on practical measures to counter challenges and threats emanating from the Afghan territory. We expect the practice of holding such meetings be continued further, including by introducing other relevant regional questions in the agenda,” the Russian top security official said.
Commenting on the varied number of meetings on Afghanistan, he said: “We note the increased activities of regional and international stakeholders on Afghanistan and the creation of new formats”, and referred to the emergency meeting of the G20 called by Italy in September, and the Troika Plus meeting convened by Islamabad, and other similar meetings.
Stating that while all these meetings are important, he said these dialogues “should not duplicate each other but complement each other”.
On the Moscow Format meeting held last month, to which India too was invited, he said: “I feel the Moscow format of consultations retains its potential because it lets us coordinate efforts to help Afghanistan to settle the Afghan issues considering the new political environment in that country.”
He said all the participants of the Delhi Dialogue were also part of the third meeting of the Moscow Format held on October 25 “that confirmed its effectiveness due to the broad representation of stakeholders”.
He called for collective participation of countries to organise an international donor conference that would help to move towards normalisation of the situation in Afghanistan and to ensure stability in the region.
“In Moscow we laid a good foundation to determine the position of our countries regarding the development of the dialogue with the Taliban as well as to practically coordinate our efforts of all stakeholders of the region,” he said, in reference to the Moscow Format to which the Taliban was also invited.