The US and Russia have agreed to work together to warrant that the global community does not accept or support the restoration of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.
In a joint statement released by the US State Department in Washington, the US and Russia also welcomed the Taliban’s pledge to “a political process and their prospective role in a new post-settlement Afghan Islamic government as defined by the intra-Afghan dialogue”.
But they “reaffirmed that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not recognised by the global community and at the United Nations, and moreover, the global community will not recognize or back the revival of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.
Earlier, the Taliban issued a statement as well, asserting that it’s their responsibility to restore the “Islamic government” that existed before US forces overthrew their government in 2001. But they too shunned using the term, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The deal calls for an intra-Afghan dialogue to create a new administrative setup in Kabul and lays down conditions for the ultimate withdrawal of all 14,000 US and Nato troops from Afghanistan.
The Taliban, however, emphasised that their leader Mullah Haibatullah was “the only legal ruler of Afghanistan” and after the removal of foreign forces, they were duty-bound to restore an “Islamic government” in Afghanistan.
In the joint statement, the United States and Russia expressed willingness for the initiation of intra-Afghan dialogue to “review the status of sanctions designations” on Taliban leaders “in order to preserve the peace process”.
But they also noted that Taliban action to further reduce violence and otherwise cease to “engage in or support activities that threaten the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan or other countries will affect the review”.
The two countries encouraged all countries to support the Afghan people and contribute to a lasting peace settlement in the interest of all.
They pledged to work with the Kabul government, Afghan political leaders, civil society and the Taliban to “bring about a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement that ends the war and contributes to regional stability and global security”.
They also reiterated that a “comprehensive and sustainable peace can be achieved only through an inclusive negotiated political settlement among Afghans”.
The joint statement appreciated the Feb 22-28 reduction of violence in Afghanistan and urged all sides to further scale down violence in order to create an environment conducive to intra-Afghan negotiations.
Russia and the United States called on the Taliban and other Afghan groups to take concrete steps to ensure that the territory of Afghanistan was not used by Al Qaeda, the militant Islamic State or other international terrorist groups to endanger or attack other countries.
They said they expected all sides would observe a ceasefire for the duration of intra-Afghan negotiations to allow stakeholders to reach agreement on a political roadmap for the country’s future. They called on all Afghans to begin discussions quickly on issues of mutual concern, such as prisoner swap and a ceasefire.