Pakistan ‘welcomes’ second round of US-Taliban talks in Doha

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The Foreign Ministry reiterates the country’s position that the world community needs to engage with the Taliban government.

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Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan “welcomes” the second round of talks between the United States and the Taliban since the post-acquisition of Afghanistan earlier this year, says a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

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Addressing a weekly press briefing in the capital Islamabad on Thursday, MoFA spokesman Asim Iftikhar reiterated his country’s position that the world community needed to engage with the Taliban’s government.

,[The US-Taliban talks] This would be a welcome development, as we have been saying, Iftikhar said, encouraging the increasing involvement of the international community with Afghanistan and helping to address its challenges.

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US Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan Tom West will arrive in Qatar’s capital Doha for two days of talks with Taliban officials next week, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said. said on Tuesday.

Price said the agenda of the talks will be America’s “important national interest” in Afghanistan, which includes “counter-terrorism, including safe passage for American citizens and Afghans to whom we have a special commitment, and will include humanitarian aid and economic condition of the country”.

On Thursday, the Afghan Foreign Ministry confirmed that a delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki had left for Doha for talks.

“A senior delegation led by Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaki left for Doha this afternoon,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Kahar Balkhi said.

“The delegation includes representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Security and The Afghanistan Bank” [the Afghan central bank],

international aid

The Taliban’s interim government has repeatedly called for international aid to help it deal with the growing humanitarian crisis since its takeover of the country in mid-August.

Following the acquisition, the US reduced the assets of the Afghan central bank by $9.5 billion, eliminating the government’s ability to function in many areas.

Afghan news organization Tolo News Cited Balkhi said the issue of frozen Afghan assets and the reopening of foreign embassies in Kabul would be discussed during the talks.

Next week’s talks will be the second round of direct talks between the two sides in Qatar after the Taliban takeover, with the last round being held in October, although at that time the West officially served as the US Special Representative for the region. I did not take over.

West played Zalmay Khalilzad, and most recently met Muttaki and other Taliban representatives, including Chinese and Russian officials, during an extended troika meeting in Islamabad on November 11.

Pakistan has urged the international community not to “abandon” Afghanistan after the Taliban returned to power in August. Islamabad, which hosts some 3.5 million Afghan refugees, fears the humanitarian crisis will hit it.

Earlier this week, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced over $28m in medical, food and other humanitarian aid for his western neighbour.

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