Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

United States opposes China role in Afghanistan solution

United States opposes China role in Afghanistan solution

Western officials and Ghani's government view the Moscow meeting with some suspicion, seeing it as an attempt by Russian Federation to push its way into a process that they say must be led by Afghanistan. "I have no doubts that the other participants of the Moscow format share this approach and that we all go by basic national interests of the Afghan people".

Last week, Ambassador Wells visited Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she met senior officials of the two countries and discussed with them the ongoing USA and global support to promote long-term peace, security, and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

"The United States believes that all countries should support direct dialogue between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to reach an end to the war and we have been clear that no government, including Russian Federation, can be a substitute for the Afghan government in direct negotiations with the Taliban".

An official USA statement, released on Tuesday, said the upcoming Geneva Conference on Afghanistan and joint efforts to advance the Afghan peace process were the two key items Ambassador Wells discussed with Pakistani officials in Islamabad on Nov 6-7. After the Afghan government cancelled its participation, India too followed suit on the pretext that it would be untenable for New Delhi's representatives to share the table with a Taliban delegation - when Afghanistan's democratically-elected government would be staying away.

While New Delhi has taken a considered decision to join the meeting, it will not send a government official. The USA and other regional stakeholders like Pakistan, China and Iran are also expected to be present.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, will travel to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar with an interagency delegation from November 8-20, the US Department of State said in a statement.

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Responding to a question about the Moscow meeting, Mr Palladino said the United States believed that all countries should support direct dialogue between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to reach an end to the war.

India is set to participate in a "non-official" level meet in Russian Federation on November 9 on Afghanistan, where members of the Taliban are expected to be present.

A senior Taliban official said after last month's talks that Khalilzad had asked the Taliban leadership, based in the Qatari capital Doha, to declare a ceasefire in Afghanistan for six months. The U.S. military has accused Iran, Russia, and Pakistan of backing the Taliban.

It was reportedly the second time a US diplomat has met with the Taliban after the Trump administration told its foreign representatives to seek direct engagement with the militant group.

Newly appointed U.S. peace envoy Khalilzad has been trying to convince the Taliban to agree to negotiate an end to the war and there are fears the Russian meeting could derail those efforts. U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion that was launched to dismantle al-Qaida and topple the Taliban. Pakistan's foreign office has confirmed Islamabad's participation in the talks. But this time, it has managed to carefully balance Russian and USA interests, as it is sending the Afghan High Peace Council's representatives, instead of its foreign ministry representatives.

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