The United States, Russia, China and Pakistan meet to discuss Afghanistan as the humanitarian crisis deepens

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

The meeting comes weeks after a similar discussion was held in Moscow, which was not attended by the United States. U.S. Special Representative Tom West attended Thursday’s extended troika negotiations.

The enlarged troika “(e) expressed deep concern at the serious humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan and reiterated its unwavering support for the Afghan people”, and “(vi) welcomed the international community’s rapid delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and expressed serious concern concern about the potential for an economic collapse and a significant worsening 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 may be at risk of starvation.

The Joint Declaration “(a) recognized the concerns of international humanitarian actors regarding the country’s serious liquidity challenges and undertook to continue to focus on measures to facilitate access to legitimate banking services.”

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

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

The United States has engaged in, but has not recognized, the Provisional Taliban government, which came to power after the capitulation of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and after conquering large parts of Afghanistan in a rapid military campaign.

A high-level delegation in the United States met with Taliban representatives for several days of meetings in Doha last month. The U.S. special envoy, who spoke to journalists from Brussels earlier this week, said the United States was preparing for another meeting between the authorities and the Taliban.

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

The Joint Declaration “(c) called on the Taliban to work with other Afghans to take steps to form an inclusive and representative government that respects the rights of all Afghans and provides equal rights for women and girls to participate in all aspects of Afghan society. “

The four nations “(well) welcomed the Taliban’s continued commitment to providing safe passage for all who wish to travel to and from Afghanistan, and encouraged rapid progress, with the onset of winter, with arrangements to establish airports throughout the country that can accept commercial air. traffic that is essential to enable a continuous flow of humanitarian aid. “

In the briefing with reporters, West, the US Special Representative, said that “the Taliban have largely lived up to their commitment to us, to allow Afghans to whom we owe a special commitment and US citizens and LPRs, out of the country, especially in recent weeks. “

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

The Pentagon is stepping up efforts to evacuate families of members of the Afghan Ministry of Defense

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

West told reporters this week that the United States is “concerned about the rise of ISIS-K attacks” and wants the Taliban to succeed against them.

“We want the Taliban to succeed against ISIS-K. I think they have a very energetic effort going on against that group,” he said. “We condemn the innocent loss of Afghan lives that have taken place in recent weeks at the hands of malicious ISIS-K attacks across the country.”

“When it comes to other groups, look, al-Qaeda continues to have a presence in Afghanistan that we are very concerned about, and that is an issue that we are constantly concerned about in our dialogue with the Taliban,” he added. he.

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