Troika Plus Meeting

On Wednesday, the Afghan Interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived in Islamabad on a three-day visit as the head of a delegation for wide-ranging talks with Pakistani officials. This visit is apparently a follow up to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Kabul on October 21 and is also the first visit to Pakistan by an Afghan cabinet member after the Taliban regained power in August.

These talks come at a crucial time for Afghanistan given the burgeoning economic and humanitarian crisis in the country. The agenda will of course be centred around the immediate assistance required by Afghanistan in addition to enhanced trade, facilitation of transit trade, cross-border movement, land and aviation links, people-to-people contacts and regional connectivity.

The government could also perhaps discuss the security situation with regards to the growing footprint of ISIS-K in Afghanistan, and also the status of talks with the TTP and how the Taliban government can facilitate the process. These are crucial matters that threaten stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the region.

Also, on November 11, Islamabad will host senior diplomats from the US, China and Russia for the Troika Plus meeting to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. These diplomats are expected to meet with Foreign Minister Muttaqi and this is the first full-fledged meeting of the Troika Plus after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

The Troika Plus is an important forum and the participation of the US is a good sign as it did not attend the meeting in Moscow last month. It is imperative that significant progress is made during these meetings, especially on the matter of humanitarian aid, Afghanistan’s frozen assets, assisting the nascent government setup in Kabul, and a regional effort to counter ISIS-K and other militant groups in Afghanistan. The Taliban will also have to compromise and exhibit flexibility as support from actors won’t be forthcoming indefinitely.

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