Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov virtually addressed an Afghanistan conference in Tehran Wednesday and called on regional countries not to allow a US or NATO military presence.
“We … call on Afghanistan’s neighboring countries not to allow a military presence of US and NATO forces which plan to move there after leaving Afghan territory,” Lavrov said.
The conference was attended by officials from China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The US has been trying to secure a new military base in the region to continue surveillance and airstrikes in Afghanistan but has failed to reach any agreements so far.
Last week, CNN reported that the US was nearing a deal with Pakistan to use the country’s airspace to carry out operations in Afghanistan. But Pakistan has maintained it would not allow the US to use its territory for military operations and has denied the CNN report.
After the Tehran conference, the regional countries released a joint statement that called for an “inclusive” government in Kabul. “An inclusive and broad-based political structure with the participation of all ethnopolitical groups is the only solution to Afghanistan issues,” the statement said.
Countries like Russia and China never closed their embassies in Kabul but are still holding out on formally recognizing the new Taliban-led Afghan government. The US has seized Afghan government funds and is using them as leverage over the Taliban despite the widespread food shortages in the country.