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Drop armed resistance against the Taliban – Russia tells Afghanistan’s exiled leaders

Abdul Rashid Dostum (left) with Atta Mohammad Noor (Image courtesy: Twitter/@Atamohammadnoor)

Noting the formation of a new resistance front against the Taliban by some politicians and military leaders of the previous Afghan regime, Russia has called for abandonment of any plans of armed struggle which could further destablise the situation in the region.

Atta Mohammad Noor, an ethnic Tajik and a former governor of Balkh province, had announced the creation of a coalition named the 'Supreme Council of National Resistance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan' on his Facebook page, last Friday.

Its key initiators also included Abdul Rashid Dostum and Younus Qanooni, both former Vice-Presidents of the country.

While Dostum is a warlord who leads the Turkic-speaking ethnic Uzbeks in the country which form about 10 per cent of the Afghan population, Qanooni is an ethnic Tajik who was once a top aide to Ahmad Shah Massoud – the much-revered Tajik commander who is known as the 'Lion of Panjshir' for his heroics against the Soviets and the Taliban.

Vowing to free Afghanistan from the "oppressive situation", the group of "prominent, compassionate parties and public figures" – all of whom had fled the country after the return of Taliban in Kabul – had outlined its agenda in two parts.

The first is to resolve the issues through political means, including the resumption of negotiations. "Our preference is to achieve lasting peace through politics," said the statement calling for establishment of an elected system with the equitable participation of all ethnic groups.  

The second talks about "inevitably resorting to military activities" if the "other side and their supporters" do not accept the political solution. "The Supreme Council is committed to appointing a fact-finding mission to investigate the causes of the sudden collapse of the Islamic Republic, identify those involved in this shameful deal, and introduce them as national traitors to the great nation of Afghanistan," the statement added.

Russia calls for restraint

It is the second part of the resistance front's agenda which has got Moscow worried.

"We call on all the ethnopolitical forces of Afghanistan to abandon militant rhetoric and make every possible effort to complete the process of national reconciliation," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

Stepping up diplimatic activism instead of military confrontations, Russia has through various regional and international forums intensified diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

After the failure of the US-led Doha peace negotiations, the Kremlin believes that there is no alternative to the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan in terms of its scope and productivity.

Russia Afghanistan

While making his remarks at the second meeting of the foreign ministers of the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan hosted by Tehran on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow plans to use all the international and regional instruments at its disposal – including the resources of the UN, SCO, CSTO and other multilateral structures – to support the creation of a truly inclusive Afghan government.

"The principle of holding conferences for the sake of conferences, familiar to Westerners, is, I hope, already in the past. The time has come for concrete deeds in this direction. I am convinced that the United Nations should play a coordinating role," said Lavrov.  

Also Read: China shifts stance – now wants the United Nations to steer Afghanistan