China hosts third meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbors
The meeting comes just days after the Taliban ordered the closure of girls schools and placed a ban on women traveling alone, raising concerns about their pledge to uphold women's rights
By News Desk - March 29 2022

(Photo credit: Xinhua)

China is set to host the third meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries on 30 and 31 March in its eastern Anhui province.

On 29 March, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian departed for the summit along with a high-level envoy, the special representative of the Iranian President for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, among other dignitaries.

Additionally, the meeting will host the representatives of Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The meeting will be chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated the meeting will continue to work on building consensus among the neighbors of Afghanistan and on finding ways to support peace and stability for the country and its people.

Chinese officials also noted that Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, will be communicating on the sidelines in a dialogue with the foreign ministers in attendance.

This dialogue is intended to encourage Taliban officials and Afghanistan’s future permanent government to have an open and inclusive political structure, to pursue domestic foreign policies that promote stability, and to fight against extremist armed groups.

The previous meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries was held on 26 October 2021, during which it was agreed that an inclusive political structure involving all ethnic and religious groups is the only solution to Afghanistan’s problems, according to a joint statement.

Since the Taliban victory against the US-backed Afghan government last August, most members of the international community have maintained that they will hold off on officially recognizing Taliban rule until they uphold the rights of religious minorities and women.

Iran and China have also made it clear they are monitoring the Taliban’s adherence to these pledges as a condition for partnership, including in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

However, some recent moves by the Taliban, including the temporary closure of girls schools and the ban on allowing women to travel without a male chaperone, may create a sense of skepticism among foreign ministers during their discussions.

Amid all this, Afghanistan is also facing a severe humanitarian crisis after the US froze, then seized the country’s foreign reserves, and prevented NGOs from providing aid to the interim government.

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