Russian Foreign Ministry expressed hope for an early constructive solution to the Afghan problem
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmoud Kureishi in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss the long-standing peace process in Afghanistan, in which both countries have been involved.
The first visit of a Russian foreign minister to Pakistan in nine years comes at a difficult time for Afghanistan: peace talks are not making significant progress, and the deadline for the withdrawal of American troops is approaching.
“(Pakistan and Russia) have similar positions on a number of issues … including peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Kureishi tweeted after meeting with Lavrov.
The ministers also discussed economic relations, cooperation in the field of energy and the fight against terrorism, as well as progress in the implementation of the gas pipeline construction project.
According to a statement from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, Lavrov is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In the 1980s, Pakistan and the United States were the main supporters of the Islamists who fought the occupying Soviet forces.
Russia is now worried that instability will spill over from Afghanistan to Central Asia as the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from the country, ending operations against the Taliban, which Pakistan has long been accused of supporting.
Pakistan denies this.
Last month, Russia hosted an international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow, at which participants, including the United States, China and Pakistan, called on the parties to the Afghan conflict to conclude a peace agreement and reduce the level of violence.
“The subject of common concern is the situation in Afghanistan,” reads a statement on the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry. “We look forward to an early exit to constructive solutions leading to an end to the civil war in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan through agreements on the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of the Taliban.”
Last year, the United States signed an agreement with the Taliban providing for the withdrawal of American troops in exchange for guarantees to prevent international terrorism. The deadline for the withdrawal of troops is set for May 1. President Joe Biden said it would be difficult to meet this deadline.