Troika Plus meets today to debate Afghan peace

Published November 11, 2021
INTERIM Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi (left) greets Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Investment, upon his arrival in Islamabad on Wednesday.—Reuters
INTERIM Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi (left) greets Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Investment, upon his arrival in Islamabad on Wednesday.—Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Senior diplomats from China, Russia, the United States and Pakistan will discuss the situation in Afghanistan at a Troika Plus meeting on Thursday (today).

A statement issued by the Foreign Office here on Wednesday said Pakistan attached high importance to the Troika Plus mechanism on the situation in Afghanistan. “Pakistan hopes that deliberations of the Troika Plus meeting would contribute to the ongoing efforts for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” it added.

Pakistan hopes deliberations will contribute to ongoing efforts for peace, stability in war-torn country

The Troika Plus meeting on Afghanistan will be inaugurated by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. It will be attended by Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, US State Department’s Special Representative and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Afghanistan Thomas West, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov and Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan Yue Xiaoyong.

The meeting is taking place in the presence of Taliban interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi who arrived here on Wednesday on a three-day visit. This is the first visit to Pakistan by an Afghan Taliban minister after the group seized power on August 15 and comes at a time when the Taliban interim government seeks global recognition and unfreezing of its assets.

Amir Muttaqi visited Pakistan for wide-ranging talks on bilateral matters, besides participating in the Troika Plus meeting. He is leading a 20-member high-level delegation comprising Minister for Finance Hidayatullah Badri, Minister for Industries and Trade Nooruddin Aziz and senior officials of the aviation ministry.

Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and senior officials welcomed the Afghan delegation upon their arrival at Nur Khan Airbase.

Shakaib Ahmad, Taliban’s representative at the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, was also present on the occasion.

The Troika Plus meeting comes a day after a New Delhi-sponsored conclave of national security advisers from Iran, Russia and Central Asian republics. It was skipped by China and Pakistan.

National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf had already declined the invitation from India, saying a spoiler cannot be a peacemaker.

“Due to scheduling reasons, it is inconvenient for China to attend the [advisers’] meeting,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday.

China’s special envoy for Afghan affairs Yue Xiaoyong will lead his country’s delegation at the Troika Plus meeting.

“China supports Pakistan in hosting the extended troika meeting. We support all efforts conducive for stability in Afghanistan to building up consensus in the world,” Wang Wenbin said at a briefing on Wednesday, according to a communication received here.

The US has already confirmed that Thomas West will be attending the Troika Plus meeting during his visit to the region. “Together with our partners, he will continue to make clear the expectations that we have of the Taliban and of any future Afghanistan government,” State Department spokesman Ned Price recently told a briefing.

Pakistan, China, Russia and the US have major stakes in bringing peace to Afghanistan. These countries have long been active participants in the Afghan peace talks. The four key players had established the forum named Troika Plus to restore peace in Afghanistan, develop regional consensus on the Afghan issue and help the war-torn country in addressing its problems.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2021

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