China, Pakistan, Afghanistan FMs to hold trilateral talks to discuss Afghan peace prospects after US troops withdrawal – Times of India

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    BEIJING: Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi will host a trilateral meeting with his counterparts from Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday to discuss the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, as Beijing stepped up its diplomacy with the two nations in the wake of the US troops withdrawal from the war-torn country.
    Wang will chair the fourth China- Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral foreign ministers meeting via video link in which his counterparts from Pakistan and Afghanistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Mohammad Haneef Atmar, would take part, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.
    The three foreign ministers will have in-depth exchanges of views on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, practical cooperation and counterterrorism and security cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here.
    Last month, China offered to host peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban militants to forge peace in view of the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan by September. US President Joe Biden in April announced that all American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 this year, thus bringing to end the country’s longest war, spanning across two decades.
    The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war. Under the US-Taliban pact, the US has agreed to withdraw all its soldiers from Afghanistan in 14 months.
    Asked about China’s expectations from the meeting, Wang said since its inception in 2017, the trilateral meeting had been held three times and achieved positive outcomes.
    “As agreed by all, the fourth dialogue will be chaired by China. Now the unilateral withdrawal of the US and NATO forces in the critical stage, the Afghan peace and reconciliation process poses new uncertainties to its domestic situation and regional security,” he said. The fourth dialogue will focus on the peace and reconciliation process in Afghan cooperation, security and counterterrorism, he said.
    Meanwhile, Javid Ahmad Qaem, Afghanistan’s ambassador to China, said Kabul favoured the US, China and India playing a role to restore peace in the country.
    “Afghanistan being a stable country is in favour of countries such as the US, China and India,” state-run Global Times quoted him as saying at a press conference with Chinese journalists here on Tuesday.
    “It is more important how we and Pakistan can build trust and how China and India can build trust regarding Afghanistan regardless of other issues. It is about peace in the whole region,” he said.
    A prominent advantage that China enjoys is that it has good relations with both Afghanistan and Pakistan and can play a critical role in building trust between these two neighbouring countries, and the trust is the real thing that will bring long-lasting peace in the region, Qaem said.
    He also expressed confidence that the Afghan Army can deal with the Taliban after the US troop withdrawal.
    “Since 2014, we have been fighting by ourselves, except for some air support from the US for our national security forces”.
    He said around 1,500 Taliban fighters were killed by Afghan forces in May.
    “We have 350,000 national security forces, among whom there are special forces. We don’t have any fear of losing ground. I don’t see a lot of changes along with the withdrawal.
    “The withdrawal would be a surprise more to the Taliban than to us. There is no other way for the Taliban except to come back to the peace table. Therefore, we propose we should have a cease-fire and the international community should put pressure on the Taliban to accept that,” he said. The Afghan Ambassador said that Afghanistan is willing to join any sincere initiative that will help facilitate peace in Afghanistan and the region.
    Regarding Washington’s planned withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by September 2021, the ambassador said that the Afghan government respects Washington’s decision.
    “We are capable of defending our country and people,” he said.
    “But we keep the doors for talks open,” he added.
    The abrupt US troop pullout has raised concerns in Beijing that this may lead to the regrouping of Xinjiang’s Uygur Muslim militants in Afghanistan which shared borders with China.
    China wants Afghanistan’s future leadership to pursue a moderate policy, promote a foreign policy of peace, maintain a friendship with neighbouring countries and firmly combat all forms of terrorism.
    Wang, who held telephone talks with Qureshi and Atmar last month, said China expects the UN to play its due role after the withdrawal of the US forces.
    Wang also said that the eight-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), of which India and Pakistan are members, should pay more attention to the situation and Afghanistan’s neighbours to strengthen communication, speak in one voice and take coordinated actions. China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan are the SCO members.





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