China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan’s foreign ministers are expected to meet in Islamabad for trilateral talks. The meeting follows a meeting
China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan’s foreign ministers are expected to meet in Islamabad for trilateral talks.
The meeting follows a meeting held in Uzbekistan involving Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and a UN-led meeting in Qatar, neither of which the Taliban were invited to.
The UNSC on Monday agreed to lift travel restrictions on Interim-Afghan Foreign Minister Muttaqi for the Islamabad meeting. Additionally, this will be the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s first visit to ally Pakistan since assuming office last December; FM Qin Gang is expected to have landed is Islamabad on Friday.
While a meeting between the Taliban, China and Pakistan will raise eyebrows in the West, China wants to portray itself as an international peacemaker and this presents a ripe opportunity to do so. Beijing proved in its bartering of the Saudi/Iran reproachment that is offers an alternative to US diplomacy. In this vein Beijing could encourage the Taliban to form an inclusive government or cooperate in counterterrorism. Nevertheless, engaging with rogue states on its doorstep is a natural security concern.
The Taliban will seek participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, although China paying legitimacy to the extremist group is currently a strong red-line for the nation.