Pakistan will attend the upcoming meeting of the representatives of regional countries in Russia on peace in Afghanistan next month, officials said Saturday.Previously scheduled for September 4, the Moscow format consultations were postponed after Afghan government refused to attend the meeting on the plea that every process should be Afghan-led. Kabul declined invitation after the United States said it would not participate. The US had also boycotted a similar meeting that Russia hosted in April, 2017, which was attended by 11 countries.The Afghan government, however, had endorsed the meetings between the American official and the Taliban political representatives in Qatar. Taliban had announced to send a delegation to Moscow from their Qatar office that was also thought to one of the reason the Kabul administration decided to stay away.The Russian Interfax news agency recently reported that the next Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan would take place in Moscow on November 1 and that Kabul and the Taliban would take part in it. However, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova had said on Thursday that the process of agreeing the dates, modalities and participants of the next Moscow format consultations on Afghanistan was still underway. She said at her regular briefing that no date had yet been decided. Record of the briefing was posted online.Pakistani official sources told Daily Times that senior officials would represent the country. A source said Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua or another senior official could lead Pakistani delegation.Russia had been active in diplomatic efforts for peace in Afghanistan since it hosted a trilateral meeting of Pakistan, China and Russia in December 2016 that was followed by another meeting, which was also attended by Afghanistan, India and Iran.Afghan Taliban did not conform if they would attend the upcoming conference, which had gained importance as the consultations in the region would contribute to the political efforts at a time when the US and Taliban had held at least two meetings in three months.Taliban stepped up diplomacy following their meeting in Qatar in July and their political envoys visited Uzbekistan and Indonesia.Meanwhile, Russia had again clarified its position on contacts with the Taliban.“Unfortunately, we have to constantly refute insinuations concerning our contacts with the Taliban movement. I would like to stress again that the main objectives behind these contacts are ensuring the safety of Russian nationals in Afghanistan and contributing to the national reconciliation process in that country,” spokesperson Zakharova said in Moscow on Oct 25, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.“By the way, the United States and some other nations also have regular contacts with the Taliban. We hope those contacts are made in the interests of promoting the peace process in Afghanistan,” she said at press briefing.Daesh threat in Afghanistan:The Russian spokesman also responded to the impression that Russia was “overstating” threats, in particular with regard to Daesh in Afghanistan.“We do not consider our assessments of the threats emanating from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Afghanistan to be exaggerated. ISIS members continue to reinforce their positions in the northern province of the country, conducting aggressive propaganda among the local population,” she said.She said Daesh militants were committing large-scale terrorist attacks, adding that Russian officials had also repeatedly drawn attention to flights by unidentified helicopters carrying weapons and new recruits to their bases.“This is odd since Afghan territory is teeming with US military and NATO representatives. It is impossible to imagine a helicopter, not an automobile, moving around Afghan airspace without any identifying marks,” she said.Published in Daily Times, October 28th 2018.