The Taliban will be invited to a ministerial-level meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, scheduled to be be held in China next year, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday, the Dawn reported.

Representatives of China, Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will attend the meeting. The first meeting of the grouping was held in Pakistan’s Capital Islamabad in September and the second meeting was conducted in Iran’s Capital Tehran in October.

Next year’s meeting would be the first one since Taliban announced a new interim government for Afghanistan after the insurgent group took control of the country.

At a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi said that the world needs to recognise that the war in Afghanistan has “ended and the Taliban are in power”.

He told the senate committee that Pakistan had been constructively engaging with Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power. Qureshi added that Islamabad had been urging other countries to engage with the Taliban.

He, however, said that Taliban must address the international community’s concerns regarding Afghanistan.

Afghan conflict

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan as the United States and its allies prepared to pull out their troops from the country after 20 years. On August 31, the last troops of the United States left Afghanistan, with the Taliban marking the withdrawal with celebratory gunfire.

India and several other countries undertook missions to evacuate their citizens from the conflict-torn country.

In September, an interim Taliban government was formed in Afghanistan. The country’s new prime minister, Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, is on the sanctions list of the United Nations.