Islamabad to cooperate with world community for Afghan peace: FO

Published September 3, 2021
This file photo shows security personnel deployed outside the Foreign Office in Islamabad. — AFP/File
This file photo shows security personnel deployed outside the Foreign Office in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday reiterated the government’s commitment to cooperate with the international community for peace in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the weekly media briefing, FO spokesman Asim Iftikhar said: “Pakistan is committed to working together with the international community to advance the shared objectives of peace, progress and stability in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan has remained deeply engaged with the international community since the Taliban took over Kabul on Aug 15. Several world leaders have spoken to or met Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Much of this engagement has remained focused on evacuation of foreigners and vulnerable Afghans from Afghanistan.

Some 12,000 people from 38 countries were evacuated with Pakistan’s help

Some 12,000 people from about 38 countries were evacuated from Afghanistan with Pakistan’s assistance.

Mr Iftikhar said that Pakistan’s facilitation for evacuation was widely acknowledged by world leaders and heads of international organisations.

Now that the evacuation phase has been completed the focus is turning to the future Afghan government, its recognition, the looming humanitarian crisis and prospects of peace and stability.

UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab is currently on a two-day visit to Pakistan for talks with the Pakistani leadership on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark A. Milley spoke with Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa by telephone on Thursday.

“The senior leaders discussed items of mutual interest, including the current security environment in Pakistan and the region,” a statement from Gen Milley’s office said.

Pakistan has consistently been urging the world to remain engaged with Afghanistan and warning at the same time of dire consequences of abandoning Afghanistan at this stage. Major concerns at this point are shortages of food and medical supplies and very likely economic collapse.

“It would also be imperative for the regional and international partners to constructively engage with Afghanistan including by supporting the country’s economy, reconstruction, rehabilitation and humanitarian needs,” Mr Iftikhar emphasised.

“At this critical juncture, there is an opportunity in the form of international community’s convergence on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” he added.

The FO spokesman recalled that national carrier PIA had helped ship World Health Organisation’s medical supplies to Mazar-i-Sharif. He said that Pakistani officials were working with the World Food Programme for facilitating the establishment of ‘humanitarian air bridge’.

The spokesman also condemned last week’s terrorist attacks at the Kabul airport, which left over 170 Afghans and 13 US marines dead.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2021

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