Pakistani special envoy arrives in Moscow for meetings on Afghanistan: official

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq arrived in Moscow on Monday to lead the country’s delegation in two important meetings on Afghanistan, officials said.

Russia, the US, China, and Pakistan, also known as the Troika Plus on Afghanistan, will meet in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss inclusivity and economic assistance to the Taliban government, a Pakistani official said. Sadiq is accompanied by additional secretary Amir Aftab Qureshi.

Sadiq will also represent Pakistan in the Moscow-format consultations on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan met Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov at the weekend and had useful discussions on the prevailing Afghan situation and forthcoming Moscow Format meeting on the way forward for promoting lasting peace & stability in the region, Khan said in a tweet.

The Moscow-format platform emerged in 2017 on the basis of a six-party mechanism of consultations by special envoys from Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, and Pakistan. Representatives of several other countries have also been invited.

A high-level Taliban delegation will also attend the meeting. The Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi says deputy of the council of ministers Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi will lead the delegation in the meeting.

“The high-level delegation of the Islamic Emirate will also hold meetings with the delegates,” Balkhi tweeted last week. Russia hosts meetings on Afghanistan at a time when no country has recognized the Taliban government and a spike in Daesh’s deadly attacks in recent weeks.

Pakistani leaders insist that the world community should engage the Taliban to avoid any crisis in the country. Daesh claimed responsibility for attacks on a mosque in southern Kandahar last week and earlier in northeastern Kunduz, killing dozens of worshippers.

The Troika plus meeting in Moscow in March had opposed the restoration of the Islamic Emirate.

The Taliban had rejected the joint statement as interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. The Taliban later declared their regime as the Islamic Emirate Afghanistan and its chief as “Amir-ul-Momineen” or commander of the faithful.

The Russian embassy in Kabul has denied reports that former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and former Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah have been invited to Moscow’s meetings.

“Both are not included in the list of invitees,” the statement said. Karzai and Abdullah have been living in Kabul since the Taliban takeover of Kabul on Aug. 15. TF Report

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