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Pakistan & China unlikely to be part of Ajit Doval-hosted meet on Afghanistan next week

Pakistan wants Taliban regime to be represented at the talks, with its NSA Moeed Yusuf saying Tuesday that this is for the sake of ordinary Afghan citizens.

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New Delhi: Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and representatives from China are unlikely to visit India to attend the talks to be hosted later this month by India’s NSA Ajit Doval on the situation in Afghanistan, ThePrint has learnt.

Multiple diplomatic sources told ThePrint that Yusuf has turned down the invitation extended by India last month, citing the reason that his country will not attend any meeting where there is no representation from the Taliban regime from Afghanistan.

According to the sources, the NSA-level talks, expected to take place around 10-13 November, are now likely to go ahead without Pakistan and China. India has also invited Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for the meet.

Addressing a press conference Tuesday in Pakistan after signing a security protocol agreement with Uzbekistan, Yusuf said: “It may be a luxury for the Western world sitting 10,000 miles away (to not bother about Afghanistan) but we do not have any option to disengage from Afghanistan.”

On being asked if he planned to visit India for the talks, he replied, “I will not go. A spoiler cannot play the role of peacemaker.”

Explaining Pakistan’s support for the Taliban dispensation in Kabul, the NSA said the world needs to engage with them in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis.

“This is not a matter of the Taliban or some other government but of the ordinary Afghan (citizens) … We are the biggest victim of this (instability in Afghanistan) so when we talk about stability in Afghanistan then one (reason) is that it is the right of our Afghan brothers and sisters. But secondly it is also necessary for our national security that there is stability in Afghanistan and continuous peace is established,” Yusuf said.

However, a final decision is reportedly yet to be taken on the matter.

Meanwhile, Kabul was rocked by two powerful explosions Tuesday, in which at least 15 people were killed and 34 wounded, followed by gunfire in the Afghan capital’s Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan military hospital.

Also read: Afghanistan crisis can not be seen in isolation, says PM Modi in Italy

Recent meetings on Afghanistan

The NSA-level talks were expected to take place in April, and former Afghan NSA Hamdullah Mohib was invited for the meeting as NATO troops were planning their withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, the talks could not take place at the time owing to the Taliban’s rapid advances in taking over vast swathes of land, sources said.

In an interview to ThePrint, Iran’s envoy to India Ali Chegeni said his country’s NSA plans to attend the meeting hosted by Doval. He also said the NSA talks were an initiative taken by Tehran.

On 27 October, Tehran hosted a meeting for the foreign ministers of Afghanistan and its neighbours, including Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. India was not invited to the meeting. The next round of this format of talks will take place in Beijing.

Among other aspects, the participants in Tehran decided that meetings of Special Envoys for Afghanistan should be held regularly.

The week before that, India was part of a meeting hosted by Russia on 20 October, in which China, Pakistan, Iran and the five Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were also invited.

(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)

Also read: India ready to send aid to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan but how to route it is the question


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