Pak to invite Afghan Taliban to ministerial meet of Afghanistan’s neighbours

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Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Islamabad will be inviting the Afghan Taliban to be part of the upcoming third ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours…writes Hamza Ameer

Qureshi said “Afghanistan’s interim government will also be invited to the next meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours”, as part of the country’s new formulated mechanism to keep constructive engagement with Afghanistan.

The ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours comprises China, Iran, Pakistan Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Russia.

Pak to invite Afghan Taliban to ministerial meet of Afghanistan’s neighbours

The inclusion of Afghanistan is part of Islamabad’s strategy of active consultation and work towards formulation of a plan that should ensure an all-inclusive setup, which should be acceptable by the global community and would attract global recognition for the Afghan government in Afghanistan.

This is the first time that Afghan Taliban interim government will be invited to the meeting. The previous two meetings, inaugural held in Islamabad on September 8 and second hosted by Iran on October 27, did not extend invitation to the Afghan Taliban because the interim Afghan Taliban setup lacked global recognition.

However, extending invitation for the third meeting at a time when no country has recognised the Taliban government setup in Afghanistan, certainly has raised eyebrows.

During the second meeting, a joint communique called on the international community to remain positively engaged with Afghanistan and develop a long-term roadmap to advance the agenda of political engagement, economic integration and regional connectivity.

As per details, the third meeting will be hosted by China, which is likely to be held early next year.

The Afghan Taliban maintain that de facto recognition of the Taliban was already there. Afghan interim foreign minister Muttaqi, during his visit to Islamabad, hoped that de jure acceptance would also happen soon.

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Pakistan’s foreign minister Qureshi said that the world will have to accept the reality that “war in Afghanistan has ended and the Taliban are in power”.

Pakistan has maintained and urged the international community to opt for the policy of consistent and positive engagement with the Taliban. Pakistan has also called on the Afghan Taliban government to work towards addressing pivotal concerns of the international community to seek early recognition.