Afghans object to being left out of meeting on Afghanistan

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan government expressed concern over a high-level meeting on the country held in Moscow on Tuesday between Russia, China and Pakistan that did not include any Afghan representatives.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said his government was not invited and hasn't been briefed on the agenda. He said this approach, regardless of the good intentions of the participants, would not help the situation in Afghanistan, where the government has been at war with the Taliban for more than 15 years.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a joint press release that the three countries discussed the "deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan" and the "increased activities of extremist groups," including local affiliates of the Islamic State group.

It said the three agreed to continue working toward an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process."

The joint statement said Russia and China, as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, confirmed their "flexible approach to delisting Afghan individuals from the U.N. sanctions lists" as a contribution to peace efforts.

"The parties agreed to proceed with consultations in an expanded format and would welcome the participation of Afghanistan," it said.

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