U.S. Joins China, Russia in Urging Taliban to Cut Terrorist Ties
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. joined rivals China and Russia to call on the Taliban to cut ties with terrorist groups and stop them from operating in Afghanistan after a recent spate of attacks that have been linked mostly to the Islamic State.
The concerted push from these world powers and Pakistan, known as the “extended troika,” to ensure the Taliban fulfilled their commitments followed a meeting in Islamabad on Thursday and signals the growing concern of a spillover of terror activities in the region. The group also met with senior Taliban representatives on the sidelines of the meeting.
The extended troika called on the Taliban to eliminate terror groups in Afghanistan in a “decisive manner,” while also showing concern for the severe humanitarian and economic situation in the country, the U.S. State Department said.
The group of the countries “agreed to continue practical engagement with the Taliban to encourage the implementation of moderate and prudent policies that can help achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan as soon as possible,” the State Department said in a statement.
It also welcomed the Taliban’s commitment to allow for safe passage to all traveling to and from Afghanistan, and called for unhindered humanitarian access.
The statement comes days after Pakistan said it had reached a cease-fire agreement with Tehreek-e-Taliban, the local offshoot of the Afghan militant group, that has increased attacks and been emboldened by its counterpart coming to power in Kabul in August.
Islamabad is concerned that Taliban control in Afghanistan will heighten instability in the region. In August, 35 militant attacks in Pakistan killed at least 52 civilians, the highest monthly toll since February 2017. The U.S. is meanwhile worried about Islamic State and al-Qaeda developing the capacity to launch attacks from Afghanistan.
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