Special envoys of China, Russia and Pak hold talks with Taliban officials in Kabul
Beijing, Sep 22: Special envoys of China, Russia and Pakistan have met the top officials of the Taliban's interim government as well as Afghan leaders Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul and discussed the formation of an inclusive government, combating terrorism and humanitarian situation, a top Chinese official said on Wednesday.
The three special envoys visited Kabul from September 21 to 22 and held talks with acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqi, Finance Minister and other high-level officials of the interim government, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here.
Significantly, they also met with former president Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, President of the Council for National Reconciliation under the previous government. "We exchanged views on the current developments in the country, & welcomed the role of AFG's neighbours in achieving peace, stability & inclusive government," Abdullah Abdullah tweeted.
"They emphasised on formation of an inclusive government acceptable to all, peace, stability, moderate policy, respecting women rights, equal right of education for all Afghans & regional cooperation," he said. This is perhaps the first time that the foreign diplomats met Karzai and Abdullah who stayed put in Kabul after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month ahead of the withdrawal of the US and NATO troops.
Their meeting also coincides with the Taliban's letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres nominating its spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's new ambassador to the UN. The Afghan militant group also asked Guterres to allow it to participate and speak in the 76th session of the General Assembly currently underway in New York.
"The Taliban underscored special attention to advancing relations with Russia, China and Pakistan and stressed the major role of the three countries in strengthening peace and security in Afghanistan," Russia's TASS news agency reported, citing Russian government news release on the three envoys' visit to Kabul.
All three countries kept their embassies open in Kabul while the US, India and the EU countries have closed their missions after Taliban's takeover of Kabul. Besides coordinating closely with Russia on Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, who are playing a lead role after the Taliban seized Kabul, are trying to establish a new grouping of countries sharing borders with Afghanistan.
The new grouping includes China, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, all of them Afghanistan's neighbours. The Foreign Ministers of the group held a virtual meeting on September 7. Highlighting its significance, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told BBC on Tuesday that the new group will jointly decide about extending recognition to the Taliban's interim government.
Elaborating on China, Russia, Pakistan Special envoys talks with the Taliban officials in Kabul, Zhao said, "they held in-depth and constructive discussions on the recent developments in Afghanistan, especially on inclusiveness, human rights, economic and humanitarian issues, friendly relations between Afghanistan and other countries, especially neighboring countries, and the unity and territorial integrity of Afghanistan".
"They expressed support for the fight against terrorism and drug-related crimes. The Taliban side stressed that it attaches great importance to Afghanistan's relations with China, Russia and Pakistan, and the three countries are playing a constructive and responsible role in consolidating peace and stability in Afghanistan," he said.
The three countries called on the international community to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, stressing that the US and its allies bear the primary responsibility for Afghanistan's economic and social reconstruction and should provide much-needed economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance. During the visit, the special envoys also met Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah to discuss peace and stability in Afghanistan, Zhao said.
"During the visit, China said that it follows a policy of non-interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs. Afghanistan should reach open and inclusive political arrangements, implement moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, make a clean break with all kinds of terrorist organisations and live on friendly terms with neighbouring countries," Zhao added. PTI