Pakistan 'closely following unfolding situation' in Afghanistan: FO

Published August 15, 2021
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV/File
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV/File

As Taliban moved further into Kabul, Pakistan on Sunday said it was "closely following the unfolding situation" in Afghanistan, and would continue to support the efforts for a political settlement.

"We hope all Afghan sides will work together to resolve this internal political crisis," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

It said the Pakistan embassy in Kabul was "extending necessary assistance" to Pakistanis, Afghans and the diplomatic and international community for consular work and coordination of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights.

A special inter-ministerial cell has been established in the Ministry of Interior to facilitate visa/arrival matters for diplomatic personnel, UN agencies, international organisations, media and others, it added.

Speaking about the situation in Afghanistan at a press conference in Multan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan had repeatedly emphasised that Afghanistan's problems "have no military solution".

"The world and Pakistan are on the same page, that the Afghan issue be solved through talks and negotiation and a transitional setup emerges in a peaceful way which is inclusive and broad-based," he said.

Terming the ongoing crisis "moments of trial" for the Afghan leadership, the minister said Pakistan hoped that Afghan citizens' rights were protected and the problem was solved through talks.

Qureshi said Islamabad had played the role of a facilitator in the peace process, and its diplomatic outreach would continue. "After Ashura, I will contact different Afghan neighbours and exchange thoughts so we can go toward a peaceful solution," he added.

Afghan delegation reaches Pakistan to discuss 'matters of mutual interest'

Meanwhile, an Afghan political delegation led by Wolesi Jirga Speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani arrived in Pakistan on Sunday evening.

The delegation was received by Pakistan's Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq, who said on Twitter that the visiting group included Salahuddin Rabbani, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, Ustad Mohammad Karim Khalili, Ahmad Zia Massoud, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Abdul Latif Pedram, Ustad Mohammad Mohaqiq and Khalid Noor.

"Matters of mutual interest will be discussed during the Afghan political leadership's visit," Sadiq added.

Qureshi receives call from British counterpart, stresses need for 'consistent engagement' with Afghan leaders

Qureshi also received a phone call from Britain Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab, according to a press release by the Foreign Office.

During the call, Qureshi "reviewed the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan" with his British counterpart.

The foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s "steadfast support for a peaceful settlement" and stated that the situation in Afghanistan required "international community’s consistent engagement with the Afghan leaders to ensure a peaceful and stable Afghanistan".

Qureshi, as per the FO statement, "expressed hope that the Afghan leaders would take advantage of international convergence in support of peace and reconciliation process".

He also apprised Secretary Raab of Pakistan’s "efforts to fully facilitate the evacuation of personnel and staff of diplomatic missions, international organizations, media and others, as requested".

"The foreign minister reiterated the invitation to his counterpart for the next round of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) in Islamabad," the FO press release added.

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