Russia, the US, China, and Pakistan — the expanded troika on the Afghan settlement — called on the Taliban to abandon plans on the Spring offensive following the Moscow meeting on Afghanistan on Thursday.

In a joint statement, approved by the meeting participants, the expanded “troika” urged all parties “to reduce the level of violence”, and on the Taliban – not to pursue a Spring offensive.

According to the statement, Russia, the US, China, and Pakistan agreed to “acknowledge the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for an end to the war and a lasting and just peace”, which can only be achieved through a negotiated political settlement.

“As stated in the UNSC resolution 2513 (2020), we do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate and we call on the Government of the Islamic Republic and the High Council for National Reconciliation to engage openly with their Taliban counterparts regarding a negotiated settlement,” the statement said.

Four states “call on the parties to negotiate and conclude a peace agreement that will bring an end to the war in Afghanistan,” aiming to achieve “a durable and just political resolution that will result in the formation of an independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic and self-sufficient Afghanistan free of terrorism and an illicit drug industry”.

Also, Afghanistan has to ensure that terrorist groups and individuals do not use its soil to threaten any other country’s security, it said.

“Any peace agreement must include protections for the rights of all Afghans – women, men, children, victims of war, and minorities,” the statement said.

The expanded troika welcomed international efforts on the Afghan peace settlement. It gave individual gratitude to Qatar, saying it “appreciates Qatar’s long-standing support to the peace process, support continuation of the Doha process.”

On March 18, Moscow hosted a regular meeting of the extended ‘troika’ comprising representatives of Russia, China, the US, and Pakistan, which focused on making progress in the intra-Afghan process to reach a negotiated settlement and permanent and comprehensive cease-fire.

The event was attended by representatives of the Afghan government, the High Council for National Reconciliation, prominent Afghan political figures, representatives of the Taliban movement, and Qatar and Turkey guests of honor.

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