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Russia Organizes Aug. 11 Meeting with U.S., China and Pakistan on Afghanistan

Aug. 6, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russia is pulling together a meeting of the “Extended Troika,” first established in 2019, of China, the United States and Russia—the “troika”—plus Pakistan, to deliberate on Afghanistan. (This is separate from the “Moscow Format” of talks for creating conditions for national reconciliation in Afghanistan, which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov referenced in Tashkent in July.) The meeting will take place in Qatar on Aug. 11. Pakistan emphasized to the United States the importance of the U.S. participating. Moeed Yusuf, Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister for National Security, and Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), met with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and stated that they would participate in the attempt for a peaceful settlement. They emphasized that they wanted the U.S. to remain engaged in a political settlement.

China’s Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi, at the July 14 SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting, had urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries to weigh in on the U.S., to keep Washington engaged in a peaceful settlement. Pakistan’s daily Express Tribune explained on Aug. 2: “The worry in Pakistan is that the U.S. may abandon Afghanistan altogether leaving regional countries to face the blowback of a potential civil war in Afghanistan. It is because of this reason that Pakistan has been working with regional countries including Russia and China to prevent the civil war in Afghanistan.”

In tandem, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Alexander Bikantov emphasized in his press briefing on Aug. 5 that: “Taliban does not have the resources to seize and hold large cities, including the country’s capital Kabul. Their offensive is gradually losing momentum. Government troops have reestablished control over the provinces of Balkh, Kapisa, Ghazni, Parwan and Herat.” However, on Aug. 6, the Taliban were able to take their first provincial capital, Nimroz’s capital Zaranj, in the west, as the government was unable to send reinforcements in time.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Aug. 5 that they will be using Tu-22M3 bombers in joint drills on Aug. 2-5 with Uzbekistan on the Afghan border: “Four Tu-22M3 supersonic missile-carrying bombers have redeployed to an operational airfield in the Saratov Region to participate in the Joint Russian-Uzbek drills that will run at the Termez training ground in the Surkhandarya Region in early August,” TASS quoted the ministry as saying. The bombers will practice delivering multiple strikes against militants’ notionally camouflaged camps and ammo depots.

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