On July 27, 2023 took place in Astana the so-called C5+1 Group meeting between representatives from the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the United States to discuss developments regarding Afghanistan.
The text of the following statement was released by the Group after their meeting:
On July 27, the Special Representatives and Special Envoys for Afghanistan of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the United States met in Astana, Kazakhstan under the auspices of the C5+1 regional diplomatic platform.
The Special Representatives and Special Envoys exchanged views on the current situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the region. They emphasized opportunities for U.S. and Central Asia cooperation in support of the Afghan people and in furtherance of security and resilience in the wider region.
In light of shared C5+1 objectives, the participants:
- Discussed the continuing need for all countries in the region and the broader international community to support an inclusive, united, sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Afghanistan that is free of terrorism, respects the rights of its population, including women and girls, and is at peace with itself and its neighbors;
- Underlined the importance of preventing the territory of Afghanistan from being used as a base for hosting, financing, or exporting terrorism and violent extremism to other countries, and reaffirmed the need for strengthening cooperation on countering trafficking in persons, arms, and illegal drugs;
- Acknowledged that the seriousness of the humanitarian and economic conditions in Afghanistan requires a strong and coordinated response from the international community that addresses all dimensions of the situation; and emphasized that this response requires, among other things, full access for humanitarian actors to all Afghans in need, in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, as well as full respect for International Humanitarian Law;
- Reiterated that the goal of a stable, economically viable and peaceful Afghanistan is only attainable if all Afghans, including women and girls, and persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, can fully, equally, and meaningfully participate in—and contribute to—the country’s future; and highlighted the need for an inclusive process of dialogue on the country’s political future that focuses on, among other things, the establishment of accountable and representative governing bodies;
- Reiterated support for freedom of movement, including for women, within Afghanistan, as well as to and from the country; and emphasized that Afghans with valid travel documents and visas should be free to travel and move in an unrestricted manner;
- Reaffirmed the importance of projects that promote regional connectivity and transit trade through the construction of energy infrastructure and extension of transportation networks connecting Central Asia to South Asia via Afghanistan;
- Welcomed significant decreases in opium poppy cultivation in 2023, but expressed concern regarding continued opiate exports and synthetic drug production in Afghanistan, as every country in the region and beyond has a shared interest in an Afghanistan free of drugs;
- Determined to continue support for institutions of higher education in Central Asia that serve male and female students from across Central Asia and Afghanistan as a means of increasing regional connectivity and cross-cultural understanding;
- Expressed support for the work of the international community in Afghanistan and welcomed the efforts of the UN Secretary General to convene international stakeholders to discuss shared interests and concerns; emphasized the importance of the continued UN political presence in Afghanistan and its goals of, among other things, promoting effective, responsible and inclusive governance and supporting meaningful reconciliation processes; strengthening respect and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all men and women; supporting essential services; and contributing to the creation of social and economic conditions that can lead to Afghanistan’s self-reliance.