Pakistan has urged the Taliban to remain engaged in the Afghan peace process, after the group announced that it would not attend any multilateral summits until all foreign forces withdraw from the country.
The Taliban's refusal has thrown the peace process into a state of disarray, with the group refusing to take part in a Turkey-hosted summit that diplomats had hoped could create new momentum towards a political settlement.
On Monday, a Taliban spokesperson stated that the religious militia group will not be attending a peace conference tentatively planned for later this week in Turkey, jeopardising U.S. efforts to facilitate a practical peace plan.
Officials from the Biden Administration, the United States and Turkey stated that they intended to begin the conference on Friday, which was set to last around 10 days.
A day after military chiefs from India and Pakistan made an unprecedented joint-agreement to respect their original ceasefire agreement from 2003, reportedly a top diplomat from the United Arab Emirates subsequently visited New Delhi for a brief one-day visit.
The India-Pakistan ceasefire was the culmination of secret talks behind closed doors brokered by the Gulf state over the course of months.
A statement released by the forum called on all involved parties to "reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a Spring offensive, so as to avoid further casualties and to create an environment conducive to reaching a negotiated political settlement".
According to a report by the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the frequency of enemy attacks in Kabul was significantly higher than in the same quarter last year.
The quarterly report articulated that "recent heavy fighting between American, Afghan and Taliban forces in the Helmand and Kandahar Provinces has forced thousands of Afghan civilians to flee their homes", as the peace negotiations continue to stall.
The U.S. military has not halted a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite a new law prohibiting further reductions without the Pentagon sending Congress an assessment of the risks.
The Pentagon’s action will likely anger Republican and Democratic lawmakers opposed to further troop cuts and renew concerns about the outgoing Trump administration’s disdain for Congress, even in its waning days.
The combined NATO troop presence in the country outnumbers that of the United States; for the first time in the history of the conflict.
As of yet, there are nearly 4000 American troops deployed in Afghanistan, while a multi-lateral contingent of NATO troops numbering 11,000 (from several nations including the United States) remain in the country.