ISLAMABAD: Senior officials from the US, China, Russia and Pakistan on Thursday called on the Taliban to sever its ties with all international terrorist groups and to deny space to any militant organisations operating inside the country while taking steps to form an "inclusive and representative" government in Kabul.
The extended Troika meeting of the special Afghan representatives of the four nations in Islamabad reviewed the latest situation in Afghanistan and said it expected that the Taliban will fulfill their commitment to prevent use of Afghan territory by terrorists against its neighbouring countries and the rest of the world.
According to the Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the day-long parleys, the four nations "expressed deep concern regarding the severe humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan and reiterated unwavering support for the people of Afghanistan."
The extended Troika also known as 'Troika Plus' welcomed the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan by the world and "expressed grave concern at the potential for an economic collapse and significantly worsening humanitarian crisis and a new refugee wave.
" The members of the extended Troika acknowledged concerns regarding Afghanistan's serious liquidity challenges and committed to continue focusing on measures to ease access to legitimate banking services.
The group also agreed to continue practical engagement with the Taliban to encourage the implementation of moderate and prudent policies that can help achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
The group also "called on the Taliban 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 the equal rights of women and girls to participate in all aspects of Afghan society."
They condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and asked the Taliban to "cut ties with all international terrorist groups, dismantle and eliminate them in a decisive manner, and to deny space to any terrorist organisation operating inside the country.
" China is concerned about the regrouping of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, the Uyghur Muslim militant group, in Afghanistan's Badakhshan province, which borders volatile Xinjiang province along with militants of Al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has been waging an insurgency against Pakistan, especially in its lawless tribal areas.
The Troika Plus said it expected that the Taliban will fulfill their commitment to prevent use of Afghan territory by terrorists against its neighbouring countries and the rest of the world.
They asked the Taliban to take a friendly approach towards neighbouring countries and to uphold their legal obligations, including universally accepted principles of international law and fundamental human rights and to protect the safety and legitimate rights of foreign nationals and institutions in Afghanistan.
The Troika Plus emphasised that access to education for women and girls at all levels is an international obligation and encouraged the Taliban to accelerate efforts to provide for full and equal access to education in the entire country.
They called on the Taliban to ensure unhindered humanitarian access, including by women aid workers, for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
They recalled the relevant Afghan-related UN Security Council 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.
Welcoming the greater role of the United Nations as a coordinator in such fields as contributing to stability and delivering emergency assistance, they urged the world body and its specialised agencies to develop programmes to implement the international community's commitments to support the people of Afghanistan.
The Troika also accorded welcome to the Taliban's continued commitment to allow for the safe passage of all who wish to travel to and from Afghanistan and encouraged rapid progress on arrangements to establish airports countrywide that can accept commercial air traffic to enable the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid.
The group also called on the international community to take concrete actions to provide Afghanistan with help against COVID-19.
According to the joint statement, the extended Troika also met with senior Taliban representatives on the sidelines of the meeting.
However, details were not shared.
It was also not clear if the group met acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Muttaqi who is in Islamabad with a delegation on their maiden trip.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his inaugural address to the extended Troika urged the international community to immediately help Afghanistan to avoid a looming human catastrophe due to lack of financial resources.
"Afghanistan is on the brink of catastrophe. It cannot even pay salaries, Qureshi said while pleading for international help. He said common people were facing famine-like situations which were badly impacting the government.
So it is vital that the international community should provide assistance on an emergency basis, he said. He also asked to unfreeze the assets of Afghanistan as it will help to launch economic activities and help the Afghan government.
The US froze over USD 9 billion of assets of the Afghan central bank after the Taliban insurgents seized power in the war-torn country in August.
Qureshi also said that the Taliban were interested in having communication with the world so that their government is recognised.
He warned the world to not repeat the mistakes of the past when isolation of Afghanistan created multiple problems.
He hoped that the Troika Plus would be helpful for the Afghan interim government and play a role in eliminating terrorists from Afghan soil.
The Troika Plus meeting was being held after a break of three months and it was expected to evolve consensus on how to engage with the Taliban government.
Pakistan has been trying to convince the world to diplomatically engage with the Taliban after they seized control of Kabul on August 15.
However, the international community is still sceptical about the hardline Islamists, especially on issues like terrorism emanating from the war-torn country and their promises to respect human rights.