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Taliban delegation arrive in Islamabad ahead of crisis talks

[Taliban delegation arriving for a previous meeting. Photo/courtesy]

A senior Taliban delegation led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss regional concerns and the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

It was the first visit by a member of the Taliban’s all-male Cabinet to Islamabad following the radical group’s takeover of Afghanistan in August, a crisis that unsettled countries in Central Asia and beyond.

The Taliban will meet with envoys from the United States, China and Russia on Thursday during Pakistan-hosted talks of what is known as the “Troika Plus” process. The Taliban delegation was received by senior government officials, including Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on commerce.

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting on Afghanistan in the Indian capital New Delhi took place on Wednesday, bringing together representatives of countries in the region as well as Russia to coordinate a common security strategy.

Pakistan and China were also invited to the conference but declined. China cited a schedule clash, while The Dawn newspaper reported that Pakistan’s national security advisor Moeed Yusuf had opted out and accused India of being “a spoiler” in the region.

A Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan issued after the meeting called for cooperation to combat radicalization, extremism, separatism and drug trafficking in the region.

It also stressed the need for an open and inclusive government with representation from all sections of society for a successful reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Pakistan and China skipped the security dialogue in India, the two countries, along with representatives of the US and Russia, will be discussing Afghan peace and stability in Islamabad on Thursday, with the acting Taliban foreign minister taking part.

Following the chaotic withdrawal of the US forces and the collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban, no country has recognized the Taliban government yet.