Foreign Policy Watch: India-Afghanistan

Moscow Format to Engage with the Talibans


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Moscow Format

Mains level: Restoration and normalization of governance in Taliban

The Moscow Format of Consultations on Afghanistan was recently held in the Russian capital.

What is the Moscow Format?

  • The Moscow format was introduced in 2017 on the basis of the six-party mechanism for consultations between special representatives from Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India.
  • The present meeting includes a group of 10 nations including India, China, Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian republics with Taliban officials.
  • Russia had previously convened a new meeting of the ‘Extended Troika’ on Afghanistan which included Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan.
  • The US pulled out of the last meeting.
  • Taliban did not participate in the talks but, welcomed the discussion and declared that it will not allow Afghan territory to be used against “stability of the region”.

Key outcomes of the meet

  • The dialogue called for respect for all Afghan ethnic groups and minorities in a bid to create national reconciliation in the war torn country.
  • The Russian hosts, presented a White Book on the civilian losses in Afghanistan due to the actions of the NATO forces during the past two decades.
  • The representatives at the talks also called for “complete unfreezing” of Afghanistan’s assets by Washington.

Urging the Taliban Govt.

  • Prevent poppy cultivation: Participating countries called upon the Taliban setup to “fulfil its commitments to eradicate terrorism and drug trafficking” that continue to emanate from the Afghan territory.
  • Stop atrocities: The return of the Taliban has been followed by a series of attacks on Shia Hazaras and growing atrocities against women and political opponents.
  • Inclusive govt. formation: The participants underscored the importance of forming a “truly inclusive government in Afghanistan, reflecting the interests of all major ethno-political groups of the country.”


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