New Delhi: Pakistan, China, Russia and the US Thursday asked the Taliban to cut ties with all international terrorist groups, dismantle and eliminate them in a “decisive manner”, and “deny space to any terrorist organisation operating inside” Afghanistan.
The statement came as Islamabad hosted the Troika Plus conference, which was attended by special representatives of China (Yue Xiaoyong), Russia (Zamir Kabulov) and the US (Thomas West). A Taliban delegation led by interim Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi also participated.
Muttaqi also held separate meetings with the senior Pakistani government officials, including Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to the joint statement issued after the meeting, the four nations said they expect the Taliban to “fulfill their commitment to prevent use of Afghan territory by terrorists against its neighbors, other countries in the region and the rest of the world”.
They condemned in “strongest terms” the recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. They also called on the Taliban to take a friendly approach towards neighbouring countries, and to uphold Afghanistan’s legal obligations, including universally accepted principles of international law and fundamental human rights, and to protect the safety and legitimate rights of foreign nationals and institutions in the country.
The Troika Plus also expressed concern over the “potential” of an “economic collapse” of Afghanistan and “significantly worsening humanitarian crisis and a new refugee wave”. However, it “welcomed the international community’s urgent provision of humanitarian assistance” to Kabul.
Also read: Taliban wants to establish communication with world: Pak foreign minister at Troika Plus meet
Qureshi pushes world for ‘positive engagement’ with Taliban
Pakistan again called upon the international community to have a “positive engagement” with the interim Taliban government, adding that Islamabad as an immediate neighbour has a “direct stake” in the peace and stability of Afghanistan.
“Located next door, we have borne the brunt of four decades of conflict and instability in the shape of refugees, drugs and terrorism. We see the current situation as an opportunity to end the prolonged conflict,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at the meeting.
“We believe Taliban are interested in engagement, as they seek international acceptance and support. It is, therefore, crucial that the international community avoids repeating mistakes of the past and continues with positive engagement,” he added.
The Troika Plus grouping, which met after three months, also met the Taliban delegation separately, which happened for the first time since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August.
“Troika Plus also met with the Afghan Acting Foreign Minister to discuss the conclusions of Troika Plus meeting and hear perspective of the Afghan Interim Government,” tweeted Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
The countries also discussed the steps Pakistan has already taken to help people in Afghanistan. “These include waiver of customs duties on perishable food items to support farmers in Afghanistan, provision of humanitarian assistance, facilitating pedestrian movement, keeping the border open during Covid-19 and visa on arrival for medical cases,” the statement said.
The Taliban delegation landed in Pakistan Wednesday in a visit that coincided with India’s Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan, chaired by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Imran Khan says Pakistan will stand by Afghan people
The Taliban delegation also met the Pakistani leadership on the sidelines of the Troika Plus meeting.
“Pakistan has always stood with the Afghan people in their hour of need. We have assured Afghan acting FM Amir Khan Muttaqi & his delegation we will provide all possible humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. We are sending essential food items, emergency medical supplies & winter shelters to provide immediate relief to Afghan people,” Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet Thursday.
“We will also provide free Covid 19 vaccines to all Afghans travelling across the border into Pak. Again I urge the int community to fulfil its collective responsibility to avert a grave humanitarian crisis confronting people of Afghanistan (sic),” he added.
The next round of Troika Plus meeting will be held in Beijing, where the interim Afghan government has also been invited, confirmed Qureshi.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)
Also read: Terrorism, women’s rights, humanitarian aid — Taliban gets stern message from Delhi NSA meet