US, Russia, China, Pakistan to meet over Afghanistan

photo by Karim-Aly Kassam

Officials from the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in China this week to discuss Afghanistan, according to the State Department and Chinese foreign ministry.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed that Tom West, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, will be attending the talks. Reuters, which first reported the news, noted that a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said that the meeting would be hosted by China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong.

Interfax news agency reported, citing a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had arrived for the talks in China, Reuters noted. Pakistan is also slated to participate in the discussions.

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill that the United States’ “understanding” was that China invited Taliban representatives to attend the talks.

“China, the US, Russia and Pakistan are countries with important influence on the Afghan issue. We hope to seek synergy between this meeting and the third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, further build consensus on the Afghan issue, encourage regional countries and the international community to step up support for peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and help the country achieve peace, stability and development at an early date,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday regarding the talks.

A State Department spokesperson said that the U.S. believed the countries held shared interests in building back Afghanistan’s economy, making sure the Taliban stays true to forming a more inclusive government and combating terrorism.

“The entire international community has a stake in ensuring the Taliban live up to the commitments they have made to the international community and to the people of Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

But the development comes amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its second month, and Lavrov has been targeted by international sanctions.

The Hill has reached out to the Russian Embassy in Washington for comment.

Updated: 12:39 p.m.

Tags Sergey Lavrov Tom West

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