Moscow parley urges US, Afghan Taliban to resume talks
Pakistan, Russia and China on Friday urged the United States and the Afghan Taliban to resume negotiations to end the ongoing conflict in the war-torn country.
The statement came during the day-long talks held in Moscow between Pakistan, Russia, China and the US. The meeting was also attended by US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.
According to Voice of America, a statement issued after the meeting stated: “Russia, China and Pakistan expressed their support for the earliest resumption of negotiation process and reaching an agreement between the United States of America and the Taliban movement, which will pave the way for launching intra-Afghan talks.”
The quartet also called for a ceasefire during the intra-Afghan dialogue, and urged Afghan government and the Taliban to release ‘a considerable number’ of prisoners before the start of the negotiations.
The quartet emphasised that any peace agreement should include the protection of the rights of women, adults, children and ethnic minorities, and should respond to the strong aspirations of the Afghan people in economic, social, political, development and legislative spheres.
Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s Additional Secretary Muhemmed Aejaz, who led the Pakistani delegation, tweeted saying: “The four sides are hopeful about and agreed to expedite the earliest peaceful resolution of the issue through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.”
he meeting comes at a time when the negotiations between the Afghan Taliban and the US were halted last month when they were close to reaching a deal.
The cancellation came despite concern among some US security officials and within the Afghan government that a US withdrawal could plunge the country into even more conflict.
US President Donald Trump halted the talks following the death of a US soldier and 11 other people in a Taliban bomb attack in Kabul. Pakistan has repeatedly urged the US and Afghan Taliban to resume the peace talks.