The United States, China and Russia will discuss Afghanistan on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of neighboring countries in the Chinese province of Anhui.
Tom West, the US special representative for Afghanistan, will also attend a meeting of the so-called ‘extended troika,’ China, Russia and the US plus Pakistan, a US State Department spokesperson said.
Separately an on-line pledging event on humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan takes place Thursday convened by United Nation Secretary-General António Guterres. Including Germany, Qatar, and the United Kingdom, it is not expected to discuss calls for the US and Europe to release $9 billion of Afghan foreign exchange, so enabling the government to pay bills and salaries.
The talks come with 98 percent of Afghans short of food in an economic crisis heightened since August’s US military withdrawal, but prospects for unfreezing Afghan assets appear to have receded with European and the US criticizing a Taliban decision to preclude girls from secondary schools.
In his first visit to China since Russian invaded Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is hosting the meetings on Afghanistan, which are set to include representatives from the Taliban as well as neighboring Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Qatar and Indonesia also attend.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has already met with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.