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Russia to host Pakistan, China on Afghanistan

Moscow does not invite Afghan officials to attend December 27 talks

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Russian authorities are busy in preparations to host its arch-rival in the Cold War era Pakistan and China to discuss security situation in Afghanistan and confer on regional stability and peace, Pakistani foreign ministry confirmed.

Spokesman for the ministry, Nafees Zakaria, confirmed the other day that Pakistani and Chinese officials would attend the trilateral talks on December 27 in Moscow.

Zakaria said the Pakistani foreign secretary would lead the delegation in the meeting. “We have said this earlier also that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan and the entire region. In this spirit, we remain committed and extend all cooperation to the efforts towards bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan,” The Nation, a Pakistani daily, quoted him.

Talking to media persons in Islamabad, the spokesman said Islamabad has played positive role in bringing Afghan insurgents to the negotiating table. He said that Pakistan would continue to play its role to support the Afghan-led peace process by approaching the insurgent groups.

Responding to Pentagon’s statement regarding free movement of Haqqani Network and the Taliban in Pakistan, the spokesman said that Islamabad would not allow any group to use Pakistan soil against any other country.

The Nation quoted him as saying, “This is more of rhetoric than anything else. Afghanistan is infested with most terrorist organizations due to the instability there, which has created space for these terrorist elements. A large number of terrorists have moved to other side of the border after successful launch of major operation near Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The results of our military action are there for everyone to see through peace and stability at the borders.”

He said that killing of senior leaders of Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Haqqani Network and other terror outfits this year in Afghanistan “clearly indicates” where leadership of these groups is.

Interestingly, Russia has not extended invitation to Afghanistan. However, Afghan foreign ministry has not commented on this.

On Wednesday, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi agreed on long term commitment to future security and stability in Afghanistan.

In a statement, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at UK said that Beijing and London remain committed to their long term support for the government of Afghanistan and its people.

The trilateral talks in Moscow would take place at a time when relations between Kabul and Islamabad have dropped to sub-zero level. Pakistani paramilitary forces have resumed artillery shelling in Sarkanu district of eastern Kunar and Maruf district of southern Kandahar province.

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