Pakistan ‘Supports’ Russia’s Initiative On Afghan Peace; US & China Likely To Attend Meet

In a bid to restart the stalled Afghan peace process, Russia is holding a crucial meeting in Moscow later this month, which will be attended by Pakistan.

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On February 21, officials and diplomatic sources confirmed Islamabad’s presence in the meeting that will look to ensure that efforts are once again underway towards peace in Afghanistan.

The meeting is likely to be attended by Pakistan, the United States, China, and Iran to develop a “collective mechanism” for the peace process.

While the talks began in September last year, the progress has been slow due to the differences between the two sides. With the Biden administration deciding to review the February 29, 2020 deal, the situation has become far more uncertain.

However, Russia is making efforts for the resumption of the intra-Afghan as well as the broader regional consensus.

Ambassador Zamir Kabulov, who is the special representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan, has urged Pakistan to join the Russia-led effort. He had recently visited  Islamabad to bring Pakistan onboard.

While there has been no official confirmation, The Express Tribune said that Pakistan supports the initiative and is likely to attend the meeting initiated by Moscow.

“Pakistan supports any effort that contributes to peace in Afghanistan,” the publication quoted a source as saying.

In 2018, Russia had hosted a similar meeting providing a platform to the Afghan Taliban for the very first time. The US had attended the meeting as an observer.

This time, however, there is no clarity on whether Washington will formally join the initiative launched by Moscow. The participation of China and Iran is confirmed.

The developments come at a time when there have been serious doubts over the progress of the Afghan peace process.

With the US and NATO indicating that they may not withdraw their troops by May 1 as agreed under the US-Taliban deal, the peace process currently hangs in the balance.

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