Troika Plus meet on Afghan situation kicks off in Pakistan

Islamabad, Nov 11 (EFE).- The Troika Plus meet kicked off Thursday in Islamabad with representatives for Afghanistan from China, Russia, the United States and Pakistan and the acting Afghan Foreign Minister holding discussions.

Taliban government’s top diplomat Amir Khan Muttaqi, leading a high-level delegation, arrived in the Pakistani capital late Wednesday on a three-day official visit, the first by any Taliban minister after the Islamists seized power in Kabul on Aug.15.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi inaugurated the session with an address, stressing on the role and importance of the so-called Troika Plus group in dealing with the security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

“We are confident that Troika Plus’s engagement with the new Afghan government will help consolidate peace and stability, promote sustainable economic development and help constrict space for terrorist outfits operating from and within Afghanistan,” Qureshi said.

He called for enhanced engagement with Afghanistan given that since the Taliban took over the country on Aug.15, most international aid has been stopped and its assets abroad frozen, while the new Islamist government is yet to be officially recognized by the international community.

“Today, Afghanistan stands at the brink of an economic collapse. With international funding dried up, it has become difficult to pay even salaries, let alone pursue development projects. The common man is reeling under the effects of a severe drought,” the foreign minister said.

Qureshi also stressed on the need to contribute towards efforts to avoid “a relapse into civil war,” tackle terrorism and “prevent a new refugee crisis.”

“In this situation, the Troika Plus has assumed greater significance and has a critical role to play,” he stressed.

Pakistan’s close ally, China, which had skipped a security dialogue on Afghanistan hosted by India a day earlier citing “scheduling reasons,” was in attendance at the Islamabad meeting.

A road map for the future of Afghanistan will be the focus of the meeting, a diplomat from the foreign ministry at Islamabad told EFE on the condition of anonymity.

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