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Russia invites US for talks on Afghanistan next week

Sources said the meeting would take place on Tuesday and that the countries “will try to work out a common position on the changing situation in Afghanistan”.

SNS | Moscow |

Russia has invited a US delegation to participate in the talks on Afghanistan slated to take place in Moscow on October 20, a top official said here.

Moscow is also currently considering a proposal by Iran on hosting in Tehran a meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbours, Xinhua news agency quoted Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan, as saying on Friday.

News agencies cited Zamir Kabulov as saying the meeting would take place on Tuesday and that the countries “will try to work out a common position on the changing situation in Afghanistan”.

Taliban’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi confirmed this in a tweet, saying that Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy of the council of ministers in the Taliban government, will lead the delegation in the meeting.

Taliban officials have not yet announced the members of their delegation.

According to the news agency Reuters, the Moscow talks also involve India and Iran alongside China and Pakistan.

Officials in Islamabad confirmed¬†that Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq will represent the country in two meetings in Moscow next week.

A day earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that post-conflict reconstruction and humanitarian assistance will be high on the agenda of the multilateral talks.

An official privy to the development said Sadiq will lead the delegation in the Troika-plus meeting on October 19 with China, Russia, and the US and the Moscow-format consultations on October 20.

Russia is hosting the two meetings in Afghanistan for the first time since the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15.

The Moscow-format consultations on Afghanistan were launched in 2017 on the basis of the six-party mechanism for consultations among representatives from Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, and India.

The first round of consultations took place on April 14, 2017, and was attended by the Deputy Foreign Ministers and representatives of 11 countries, namely Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

(With IANS inputs)