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Afghan FM to meet Pakistani officials in first visit since Taliban takeover

Afghanistan’s interim Foreign Minister Muttaqi will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart and will attend the Troika Plus meeting which will also include representatives from Russia, US and China.

Pakistan extended a special invitation to Muttaqi to attend the Troika Plus meeting in Islamabad. (AP)

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the interim Afghan foreign minister, will visit Pakistan for the first time since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan.
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A senior-level delegation led by Muttaqi will travel to Pakistan on November 10, a spokesperson of the Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry Abdul Qahar Balkhi said in a statement on Tuesday.

“(The) delegation will discuss enhancing ties, economy, transit, refugees and expanding facilities for the movement of people, and will include ministers and working groups from Finance and Trade Ministries,” Balkhi tweeted.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry official told reporters in the capital Islamabad that Muttaqi will discuss a string of issues with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, including bilateral relationships, visas to Afghan nationals, and cross-border movement.

Taliban warns US not to ‘destabilise’ its government

Troika Plus meeting

Earlier, Pakistan extended a special invitation to Muttaqi to attend the Troika Plus meeting scheduled to be held in Islamabad on November 11.

The meeting will include Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, US State Department’s Special Representative, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Afghanistan Thomas West, Russia’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, and Chinese Special Envoy for Afghanistan Yue Xiaoyong.

The previous meeting took place on Oct 19 in Moscow, but the US did not participate in the event.

Flanked by then-intelligence chief Gen Faiz Hameed, Qureshi visited Kabul in October, and it will be Muttaqi’s first visit to neighboring country since the Taliban took control of Kabul in August.

During a visit to Ankara last month, Muttaqi said that official recognition of his government and international aid are of critical importance for Afghanistan’s economic recovery.

Although security worries have diminished since the Taliban took power on Aug 15, two days after, the US government froze about $9.5 billion of Afghanistan’s central bank assets.

Many donors and international organisations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, have stopped making payments to the interim Taliban government.

“The real question is, why was this money blocked? What did the Afghanistan citizens do?” Muttaqi asked rhetorically.

“On the other hand, the US and other countries say that humanitarian aid should be given to Afghanistan and human rights should be respected. But, they leave 40 million Afghan people without basic necessities.”

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