Moscow: Russia hosted representatives from six countries on Wednesday for discussions aimed at encouraging the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government, TASS news agency reported.

Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran and India took part in the gathering, which came less than two months after a similar meeting between Russia, China and Pakistan. In hosting the gathering, Moscow is demonstrating its increasing interest in Afghanistan.

The United States, for the second time in a row, was not invited. For Pakistan, attending meetings on Afghanistan that the United States is not a party to is key. Such gatherings allow Islamabad to show Washington that it has other countries to rely on for support in Afghanistan.

According to Afghan Tolo news agency, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said high-level delegations from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and India are currently holding discussions in Moscow and details of the diplomacy will be soon shared.

“Moscow is currently hosting consultations on Afghanistan involving senior officials of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and India and we will be brief you on the outcome of this meeting,” said Zakharova.–Monitoring Desk