ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has been invited by Russia to a meeting of ‘extended troika’ on Afghan peace being held on March 18 in Moscow.
Russian newswire TASS quoted Russia’s presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov as having said that the United States, China, Pakistan, the Afghan government and the Taliban have been invited to attend the coming expanded trilateral consultations on peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
“It is not even a conference, it is consultations of the expanded trio: Russia, the US, China and Pakistan. Yes, we have invited [Afghan] government representatives, Afghan statesmen and the Taliban delegation as well,” Mr Kabulov said.
Mr Kabulov had visited Pakistan on Feb 19 during which he had discussed Moscow’s plan to hold this meeting.
Pakistan had on that occasion announced its backing for Russian efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Four countries to hold consultations in Moscow on 18th
“The foreign minister underlined the importance of regional consultations and appreciated the role of the four-party talks in support of the Afghan peace process,” Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri had said on that occasion.
Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Faraidoon Khawzon has, meanwhile, said that key Afghan politicians have been invited to attend the meeting on Afghanistan.
The planned Russian meeting coincides with the renewed American push to accelerate the peace process.
US Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who was here on Monday, in his meeting with Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa stressed the need to accelerate progress towards a just and durable peace in Afghanistan, according to US Embassy.
Biden administration is also planning to request the United Nations to convene a meeting of the foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the US so that the regional countries could meet for developing a unifi ed approach for supporting the peace process.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2021