International talks aim for consensus on Taliban government

Western G7 powers are meeting Turkey, Qatar and Nato in Doha to discuss how Kabul airport could be reopened

Talks are under way in Doha and New York to try to reach an international consensus on the conditions for recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan. There are signs of tensions between superpowers after Russia called on the US to release Afghan central bank reserves that Washington blocked after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul earlier this month.

“If our western colleagues are actually worried about the fate of the Afghan people, then we must not create additional problems for them by freezing gold and foreign exchange reserves,” said the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.

He said the US must urgently unfreeze these assets, “to bolster the rate of the collapsing national currency”.

The leading western G7 powers are meeting Turkey, Qatar and Nato in Doha to discuss further details of the how Kabul’s civilian airport could be reopened to allow those that want to leave Afghanistan with valid documents to do so. More than 100 nations signed a joint statement saying the Taliban has agreed to facilitate this. The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is chairing the meeting and due to announce its outcome later.

At the same the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, started a four-day sweep through countries bordering Afghanistan to secure their agreement to house refugees temporarily, or to use the country as a transit point pending processing. So far Qatar has acted as the transit point for more than 40% of the 100,000-plus refugees airlifted out of the country. Maas is due to visit Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Pakistan.

In Turkey, his first stopover, Maas said he was grateful for the country’s offer. “We ask the Taliban to promise to provide security,” he said. “We have to negotiate with the Taliban. They want the airport to be operated. In this regard, we are ready to contribute both financially and technically.”

James Cleverly, the UK minister for the Middle East and North Africa, said he could not see how Kabul airport could be operated by foreign powers without boots on the ground, something that is not currently possible.

On Monday, António Guterres, the UN secretary general, will convene a meeting in New York of ambassadors from the five permanent members of the UN security council – Russia, China, the US, the UK, and France – to discuss a potential joint resolution on Afghanistan. The resolution has been under discussion over the weekend.

The UK has said its four international priorities are: preventing Afghanistan becoming a haven for terrorists; responding to the humanitarian plight; safeguarding regional stability; and holding the Taliban to account on human rights. The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has said it is necessary for the west to work pragmatically with Russia and China on the future of Afghanistan.

The Kremlin on Monday welcomed French president Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to create a “safe zone” in Kabul to protect humanitarian operations.

“This is certainly a proposal that must be discussed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.


Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Obama v Romney: around the world in 90 minutes
The third presidential debate made it clear: from Israeli-Palestinian affairs to the eurozone crisis, foreign politics will have precious little part to play in this US election

Harriet Sherwood, Tania Branigan, David Smith, Jon Boone, Miriam Elder, Ian Traynor, Angelique Chrisafis, Jonathan Watts and Kate Hodal

23, Oct, 2012 @2:01 PM

Barack Obama's election 2012 win: the world reacts

Countries around the globe have welcomed the re-election of the US president. But there are some notable exceptions

Tania Branigan in Beijing, Howard Amos in Moscow, Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Emma Graham-Harrisson in Kabul, Jason Burke in New Delhi, Martin Chulov in Beirut, David Smith in Pretoria and Angelique Chrisafis in Paris and Jonathan Watts, Latin America correspondent

07, Nov, 2012 @4:22 PM

Article image
John Kerry statement on Syria polarises world leaders
Iran and Russia stand alongside Bashar al-Assad's regime while the UK, France and Australia follow Washington's lead

Paul Lewis in Washington, Martin Chulov in Beirut, Julian Borger, Nicholas Watt and agencies

27, Aug, 2013 @1:40 PM

Article image
Russia 'key player' in move towards Afghanistan Taliban talks
Attempt to overhaul UN sanctions regime hangs on Russia, INdia and China dropping objections, says German diplomat

Jon Boone in Kabul

07, Jun, 2011 @4:37 PM

Article image
Taliban envoys travel to Pakistan to discuss Afghanistan peace talks
Meeting with Pakistani officials follows insurgent group’s contacts with both Afghan and US officials in recent months

Sami Yousufzai and Jon Boone in Islamabad

21, Oct, 2016 @2:48 PM

Article image
Reasons to be fearful – the international news review of 2019
This year world leaders struggled to manage the fallout from the erratic tenant in the White House – as China flexed its imperial muscles. We look back at the events that created the most turbulence

Simon Tisdall

26, Dec, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Reasons to be cheerful – the international news review of 2019
Europe’s centre held and environmental activists stood up to be counted – as did ordinary people on the street, from Sudan to Hong Kong and beyond

Simon Tisdall

26, Dec, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Afghanistan: what does each nation hope to get out of the G7 meeting?
Analysis: Tuesday’s meeting called by Boris Johnson may include postmortem on Joe Biden’s handling of crisis

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

23, Aug, 2021 @4:53 PM

Article image
Top Trump diplomacy: we rate the president's calls and calamities with world leaders
Since entering the White House, Donald Trump has had dozens of interactions with leaders. Flip the cards below to see some of his most colourful ... so far

16, Feb, 2017 @5:01 AM

Article image
China urges nations to ‘actively guide’ Taliban government
US should work with international community to help Afghanistan run government functions, Wang Yi says

Vincent Ni China affairs correspondent

30, Aug, 2021 @1:28 PM