Pakistan welcomes second round of US-Taliban talks in Doha

Nov 26, 2021: A Foreign Ministry (MOFA) spokesman said Pakistan had “welcomed” the second round of talks between the United States and the Taliban since the group took control of Afghanistan earlier this year.

Addressing a weekly press briefing in the capital Islamabad on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar reiterated the country’s position that the international community needs to engage with the Taliban government.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Tom West will arrive in the Qatari capital Doha next week for two days of talks with Taliban officials, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday.

Price said the agenda for the talks would be “important national interests” of the United States in Afghanistan, including “counterterrorism, a safe passage for American citizens and Afghans to whom we have a special commitment, and that includes humanitarian aid and the economic situation. ” Of the country “.

On Thursday, the Afghan Foreign Ministry confirmed that a delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaki had left for Doha for talks.

The Taliban’s interim government has repeatedly called for international assistance to help combat a humanitarian crisis after its takeover of the country in mid-August.

The US froze $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets following the takeover, crippling the government’s ability to function in many areas.

Next week’s talks will be the second round of direct talks between the two sides in Qatar following the Taliban’s takeover, with a previous round held in October, although West had not officially taken over as the US special representative for the region at that time.

West replaced Zalmay Khalilzad in the role, and most recently met with Muttaqi and other Taliban representatives on the sidelines of an extended troika meeting, which also included Chinese and Russian officials, in Islamabad on November 11.

Pakistan has urged international community not to abandon Afghanistan following Taliban’s return to power in August. Islamabad, which hosts nearly 3.5 million Afghan refugees, fears that a humanitarian crisis will have a spillover effect on it.

Earlier this week, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced more than $28m medical, food and other humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan.

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