Friday Nov 12, 2021
ISLAMABAD: In a meeting of the Troika Plus, hosted by Pakistan, the Taliban government in Afghanistan was given a clear message to uphold its international legal obligations, including universally accepted principles of international law and fundamental human rights.
The ninth meeting of the group comprising Pakistan, China, Russia and the US was held in Islamabad. It asked the caretaker Afghan government to take a friendly approach towards neighbouring countries.
Interim Afghanistan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was specially invited by Pakistan to attend the meeting.
The Troika Plus on Afghanistan was attended by Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, the State Department’s special representative and deputy assistant secretary for Afghanistan, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov and Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, at the Foreign Office.
This is the first visit of Thomas West to Pakistan after he took over from Zalmay Khalilzad.
Pakistan, at the Troika meeting, without naming the United States, said efforts should be made to enable Afghanistan to access its frozen funds which would dovetail into efforts to regenerate economic activities and move the Afghan economy towards stability and sustainability.
The US is holding on to billions of dollars which were parked in American banks during the government of former president Ashraf Ghani.
In a joint statement, the Troika sent out a loud message to Kabul, regional countries and world capitals.
Addressing the Taliban, it said that it had expectations that they would take decisive action against terrorists, fulfil their commitment to prevent use of Afghan territory against its neighbours, and other countries in the region and the rest of the world.
As foreign capitals had complained of distributing humanitarian aid, the Troika called on the Taliban to ensure unhindered humanitarian access, including by women aid workers, for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan to respond to the developing crisis.
The Taliban were also asked to work with fellow Afghans to take steps to form an inclusive and representative government that respects the rights of all Afghans and provides for equal rights of women and girls to participate in all aspects of Afghan society.
In this regard, it was emphasised that access to education for women and girls at all levels is an international obligation and the Taliban were encouraged to accelerate efforts to provide for full and equal access to education countrywide.
The Troika declared that they would continue to hold practical engagement with the Taliban to encourage the implementation of moderate and prudent policies that can help achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan as soon as possible.
Of importance was the Troika recalling the relevant Afghan-related UNSC Resolutions, including respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan that is free of terrorism and drug related crime, and that contributes to regional stability and connectivity.