‘Troika Plus’ to discuss Afghan crisis on Aug 11

Key officials from Pakistan, US, Russia and China to meet in Doha


Kamran Yousaf August 02, 2021
PHOTO: TWITTER/@nunnasia/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Senior officials from Pakistan, the United States, Russia and China will meet in Doha on August 11 as part of efforts to prevent Afghanistan from slipping into another civil war.

The meeting of the so-called “extended Troika” comes against the backdrop of the Afghan Taliban making rapid inroads in the war-ravaged country since the start of the US and Nato forces’ withdrawal and the lack of any headway in the intra-Afghan talks.

The special representatives of these four key players last met in April in Doha, Qatar, and previously also held unannounced sessions in what appeared to be an effort to develop regional consensus on the Afghan endgame.

Although the US has serious differences with China and Russia on many issues, Washington is now keen to take Beijing and Moscow onboard on the current Afghan situation.

Both Russia and China have criticized the US for “hasty withdrawal” and declared that Washington has failed to bring about peace in the war-torn country.

Pakistan also expressed similar views as Prime Minister Imran Khan recently blamed the US for leaving behind a mess in Afghanistan. Pakistan, Russia and China are increasingly worried that the renewed unrest in Afghanistan will be destabilizing for these three countries.

An Afghan Taliban delegation, which earlier this week visited China, was told by Beijing to make a clear break from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a UN designated terrorist outfit seeking an independent state for Chinese Muslims in Xinxiang.

Read Refugees struggle as Afghan crisis deepens

Pakistan, also concerned at the growing unrest in the neighbouring country, is pushing the Afghan Taliban to take action against the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The Foreign Office confirmed that Pakistan would attend the extended troika meeting in Doha.
“Pakistan considers Troika Plus an important forum to facilitate the Afghan Peace Process.

Pakistan has been participating in the format regularly,” Zahid Hafiz Chaudhri, foreign office spokesperson said in a statement.

“Pakistan looks forward to the Troika Plus meeting in Doha. The meeting will review the current situation in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson added. He said Pakistan would continue to support efforts to achieve a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

The extended Troika on the Afghan peaceful settlement will hold its next meeting in Doha in early August, Special Russian Presidential Representative for Afghanistan, Director of the Second Asian Department at Russia’s Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov told an online briefing on Thursday.

Russian Special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov also confirmed the Doha meeting and said he was in contact with his US, Pakistani and Chinese counterparts on the issue.

US President Joe Biden announced on April 14 that he had made a decision to complete the operation in Afghanistan that has been the longest overseas military campaign in US history.

The situation in Afghanistan has started to deteriorate in the wake of the US decision as the Taliban are intensifying their offensive in many areas of the country.

The Taliban movement has claimed that it has gained control of about 85% of the country's territory, including the border regions with five countries — Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that the situation in Afghanistan was quickly degrading and had gone out of the authorities’ control.

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