“Extended Troika” to discuss Afghanistan situation in second week of August

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ISLAMABAD: Senior officials from Pakistan, the United States, Russia and China will meet in Doha on August 11 as part of efforts to prevent Afghanistan from slipping into another civil war.

The meeting of the so-called “extended Troika” comes against the backdrop of the Afghan Taliban making rapid inroads in the war-ravaged country since the start of the US and NATO forces’ withdrawal and the lack of any headway in the intra-Afghan talks.

The special representatives of these four key players last met in April in Doha, Qatar, and previously also held unannounced sessions in what appeared to be an effort to develop regional consensus on the Afghan endgame.

Although the US has serious differences with China and Russia on many issues, Washington is now keen to take Beijing and Moscow onboard on the current Afghan situation.

Both Russia and China have criticized the US for “hasty withdrawal” and declared that Washington has failed to bring about peace in the war-torn country.

Pakistan also expressed similar views as Prime Minister Imran Khan recently blamed the US for leaving behind a mess in Afghanistan. Pakistan, Russia and China are increasingly worried that the renewed unrest in Afghanistan will be destabilizing for these three countries.

An Afghan Taliban delegation, which earlier this week visited China, was told by Beijing to make a clear break from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a UN designated terrorist outfit seeking an independent state for Chinese Muslims in Xinxiang.

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