Pakistan, other stakeholders in ‘Afghan peace’ to meet in Doha

Published July 31, 2021
In this file photo, Afghan National Army soldiers are seen rebuilding a checkpoint recaptured from the Taliban, in the Alishing district of Laghman province, Afghanistan. — Reuters
In this file photo, Afghan National Army soldiers are seen rebuilding a checkpoint recaptured from the Taliban, in the Alishing district of Laghman province, Afghanistan. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The ‘Extended Troika for Afghan Peace’ will meet in Doha early next month to review the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

Special Russian Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, during an online briefing from Moscow, announced that the meeting of the Extended Troika comprising Russia, China, the United States and Pakistan would be held next week.

“We are in constant contact over the phone with my counterpart (US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay) Khalilzad who is now in Washington. Next week, we are planning to meet in Doha with him and with our Chinese and Pakistani counterparts for the next encounter of the extended Troika,” the envoy said, according to the Russian newswire TASS.

Russian envoy makes the announcement during an online briefing from Moscow

“Beijing recently appointed its new envoy for Afghanistan whom I do not know and expect to meet him in Doha on August 11. We will continue substantive consultations both in the bilateral and extended Troika formats and are ready for broader talks with interested international actors,” he added.

The last meeting of the format set up by Russia was held on April 30 in Doha. A statement issued by the participating countries at the conclusion of the last meeting had emphasised that “during the withdrawal period, the peace process should not be disrupted, no fights or turbulence shall occur in Afghanistan, and the safety of international troops should be ensured”.

The upcoming meeting is taking place at a time when the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is near completion.

Violence has increased in Afghanistan since foreign forces started pullout on May 1. Taliban have since then captured large area across the war-ravaged country including key border crossings with neighbouring countries. It is being feared that Taliban could take control of the country.

The insurgents have, meanwhile, stepped up efforts for gaining international legitimacy. A Taliban delegation on Wednesday met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, in a statement issued from Islamabad, underscored the importance Pakistan attaches to ‘Troika Plus’ as an important forum for facilitating the Afghan peace process. Pakistan had been participating in the format regularly, he said, adding that Pakistan looked forward to the Troika-Plus meeting in Doha.

“Pakistan will continue to support efforts to achieve a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” he reiterated.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2021

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