Pakistan calls on world to ‘commit’ to Taliban government

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s national security adviser has called on the world to “compromise” with the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan or risk reverting to the instability that characterized the group’s last era in power three decades ago.

In a speech to foreign media in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad on Wednesday, Moeed Yusuf urged the international community not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

“We are trying to make sure that the world understands the importance of not repeating the mistakes of the past,” he said.

“For us, it is imperative to seek peace and stability in Afghanistan, that is what we are focused on.”

Yusuf’s comments come as world powers debate whether and under what conditions to recognize the new Taliban-dominated government in Kabul, which swept through Afghanistan in a blitzkrieg last month. The group took control of the capital Kabul on August 15 when former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

Pakistan, Afghanistan’s southeastern neighbor, has repeatedly called on world powers to engage with the new government and provide immediate humanitarian and other aid to prevent imminent economic collapse.

On Monday, several countries pledged more than $ 1.1 billion in food aid at a United Nations conference to address immediate concerns about poverty and hunger in Afghanistan. However, roughly $ 10 billion in Afghan central bank reserves remain frozen in overseas banks, especially the US Federal Reserve.

Stay engaged

Yusuf called on world powers to engage with the Taliban rather than freeze ties with the government led by the armed group, which fought a bloody 20-year battle against US and NATO occupying forces that killed dozens of thousands of Afghan civilians and security forces.

“By participating, you are basically saying that we are going to try to constructively see how to help Afghanistan for the sake of the average Afghan,” Yusuf said.

When asked if there were human rights concerns under a Taliban government, the Pakistani national security adviser said international powers could only exert influence on those issues if they compromised with the country.

People walk with their belongings to cross into Pakistan at the Friendship Gate crossing in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border city of Chaman, Pakistan September 6, 2021 [File: Abdul Khaliq Achakzai/Reuters]

“If the Taliban have clearly signaled what they have done, that they want to remain engaged with the world … and if they have clearly said that engagement will bring legitimacy and assistance, it is not Pakistan that would provide that,” he said.

“We cannot provide that legitimacy, that is the West. And that’s the leverage. But if you engage constructively, that conversation can happen. “

He also said that engagement with the government would help address global security concerns. The Taliban have declared in the past, and in the landmark agreement with the United States in February 2020, that the use of Afghan soil against foreign countries will not be allowed.

Yusuf said on Wednesday that Pakistan had held talks with Taliban leaders about security concerns, specifically related to the Pakistani Taliban armed group that has many fighters in eastern Afghanistan.

“We made it absolutely clear that we cannot accept any terrorism from Afghan soil and frankly the very clear answer is that there is no interest in allowing that to happen, so now the goal again is border management, making sure that these [fighters] They are not allowed to operate the way they do, ”he said.

Pakistan has seen an increase in attacks on security forces in the northwest of the country, in districts near the Afghan border, since the Taliban took power last month.

Humanitarian crisis

Yusuf also warned that immediate humanitarian aid would not address the long-term sustainability of the Afghan economy, and that world powers must do more to ensure that the country, which has relied heavily on foreign aid for decades, does not fall into a crisis. economic crisis.

“Humanitarian assistance is only an interim arrangement to ensure that there is no immediate humanitarian crisis. That does not equate to governance, institutional and economic support, ”he said.

On Tuesday, Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi also called on international donors to resume foreign aid.

A displaced Afghan boy plays in a camp for internally displaced people in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. [Bernat Armangue/AP Photo]

“Afghanistan is a country hit by war and it needs the help of the international community in different sectors, especially in education, health and development,” Muttaqi told reporters in Kabul.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will travel to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on Thursday to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit at which the situation in Afghanistan is expected to figure prominently.

Yusuf said Khan would be urging world powers in the SCO, which includes Russia, China, India and several Central Asian states, to “compromise” with the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

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