US, Russia, China, Pakistan meet to discuss Afghanistan as humanitarian crisis deepens


Representatives of the four countries – known as the enlarged troika – also “met with senior Taliban representatives on the sidelines” of the meeting in Islamabad, according to a 15-point joint statement released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry.

The meeting comes weeks after a similar discussion took place in Moscow, in which the United States did not participate. US Special Representative Tom West attended the extended troika talks on Thursday.

The enlarged troika “(e) expressed deep concern about the grave humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan and reiterated its unwavering support for the Afghan people”, and the potential for economic collapse and a significant escalation of the humanitarian crisis and a new wave of refugees. “

David Beasley of the World Food Program said Thursday that “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is unfolding” in Afghanistan, where more than 22 million people could be at risk of starvation.

The joint statement “(a) recognized the concerns of international humanitarian actors regarding the country’s serious liquidity problems and pledged to continue to focus on measures to facilitate access to legitimate banking services”.

The Taliban do not have access to the billions of dollars in reserves of the Afghan central bank, most of which has been frozen in the United States.

The United States, Russia, China and Pakistan called on the Taliban to allow unhindered humanitarian access and “(a) agreed to continue their concrete engagement with the Taliban to encourage the implementation of moderate and prudent policies. who can help achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan as soon as possible. as possible “, according to the joint statement.

The United States has pledged but failed to recognize the Taliban’s interim government, which came to power after former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani surrendered and seized much of Afghanistan during a rapid military campaign.

A high-level US interagency delegation met with representatives of the Taliban during several days of meetings in Doha last month. The US special representative, speaking to reporters in Brussels earlier this week, said the US was preparing for another interagency meeting with the Taliban.

The Taliban’s interim government – all male and made up of members of the Taliban and Haqqani network – has imposed severe societal restrictions, especially on women.

The joint statement “(c) called on the Taliban to work with their Afghan compatriots to take action to form an inclusive and representative government that respects the rights of all Afghans and guarantees the equal rights of women and girls to participate. to all aspects of Afghan society life. “

The four nations “welcomed the Taliban’s continued commitment to allow the safe passage of all those wishing to travel to and from Afghanistan and urged rapid progress, with the onset of winter, on arrangements to to establish airports across the country that can accept commercial flight traffic, which is essential to allow the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid. “

In the briefing with reporters, West, the United States Special Representative, said, “The Taliban have by and large kept their commitment to us, to allow the Afghans to whom we owe a special commitment, to the US citizens and LPR to leave the country, during the past several weeks in particular. “

West said the “real challenge” for safe passage is “potentially logistical, especially as the winter months approach,” noting that Kabul airport’s ability to operate in winter “is in question” .

The enlarged troika “(c) condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to sever ties with all international terrorist groups, to dismantle and decisively eliminate them, and to deny space to any terrorist organization operating inside the country. “

West told reporters this week that the United States was “worried about the increase in ISIS-K attacks” and wanted the Taliban to succeed against them.

“We want the Taliban to be successful against ISIS-K. I think they have a very vigorous effort going against this group,” he said. “We condemn the innocent loss of Afghan lives which has taken place in recent weeks at the hands of vicious ISIS-K attacks across the country.”

“As for the other groups, look, al-Qaeda continues to have a presence in Afghanistan that concerns us a lot, and this is an issue that constantly concerns us in our dialogue with the Taliban,” he said. added.

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