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ISLAMABAD: As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani escaped from Afghanistan amid chaos, a high-level Afghan delegation comprising senior politicians from northern Afghanistan, arrived here on Sunday, seeking Pakistan's support for restoration of peace, following Taliban took over Kabul.

Pakistan has been advocating resolution of Afghan issue through talks, according to sources, has assured the delegation of playing its due role in peaceful settlement of the conflict as soon as possible to avoid any civil war in the war-torn country.

They said that Pakistan reiterated its earlier stance of finding a political settlement for establishing peace in Afghanistan as it is a shared responsibility and together with international community, would continue its facilitator role to bring things normalcy.

In a press conference on Multan on Sunday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan and it is on the same page with the international community with regard to finding a political solution to Afghan conflict.

To a question whether Pakistan will recognize the Taliban regime, Qureshi said: "When the time comes, Pakistan will recognise the Taliban government in line with international consensus, ground realities, as well as Pakistan's national interests."

However, he reiterated that there should be no military solution to the Afghan issue and Pakistan wants all problems to be resolved through dialogue, as the country is pursuing the agenda to see prosperity in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister also stated that he would also be discussing the Afghan issue with his counterparts from neighbouring countries, including China, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, adding that India should also work to resolve the Afghan issue.

The Afghan delegation was received by Pakistan's special representative for Pakistan Muhammad Sadiq and National Speaker Asad Qaiser. The delegation is expected to meet top civil and military leadership to discuss the evolving situation in wake of recent development and Pakistan's possible role in bringing a future set up.

The high-level Afghan delegation, according to Sadiq, include Speaker Ulusi Jirga Mir Rehman Rehmani, former Foreign Minister Salah-ud-Din Rabbani, Tajik leader and former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, Hezb-e-Wahdat-Islami Afghanistan leader Ustad Mohammad Karim Khalili, two sons of former warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud - Ahmad Zia Massoud and Ahmad Wali Massoud - chairman of the People's Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan Mohammad Mohaqiq, Leader of National Congress Party of Afghanistan Abdul Latif Pedram, and the member of Kabul administration's negotiating team and the country's youngest parliamentarian Khalid Noor.

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

According to Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan, the Afghan delegation is visiting Pakistan for three-day for holding consultations the way forward for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

According to Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Pakistan is closely following the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and reiterated that Pakistan will continue to support the efforts for political settlement in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan hopes that all Afghan sides will work together to resolve their internal political crisis.

Referring to the problems being faced by the stranded Pakistanis in Kabul, he said that Pakistan's Embassy in Kabul is extending necessary assistance to Pakistanis, Afghan nationals and diplomatic and international community for consular work and coordination of PIA flights.

He said a special inter-ministerial cell has been established in the Ministry of Interior to facilitate visa and arrival matters for diplomatic personnel, UN agencies, international organizations, media and others.

Talking to Business Recorder, senior defence analyst, Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood said that the way Afghan security apparatus collapsed was a total embarrassment not only the Afghan government, but also for the Americans which invested a lot in training and equipping of the Afghan national army.

"They just collapsed like the scene in the American political thriller streaming television series - House of Cards - this is what happens when a regime lacks backing of its people," he added.

To a question about the security threat posed to Pakistan from the active presence of outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghanistan, he said that although the border is fenced and vigilance increased, the threat is still alive because one cannot differentiate between the terrorist or a common man crossing the border into Pakistan as Afghan refugee.

He said that Pakistan military leadership has recently taken up the issue with the Taliban leadership and conveyed the country's concerns over the presence of the TTP and other anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. "We will have to wait and see as to whether the Taliban will be controlling the TTP or remain silent, given the ideological similarities between the two," he added.

About the question of recognition of the possible Taliban regime in Afghanistan, he believed that with the passage of time the international community will realise the "reality" recognize the Taliban regime. "Due to the question of recognition, they Taliban avoided to attack Kabul. If they [Taliban regime] were not recognized initially, the regional and neighbouring countries, such as Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan would keep ties with them and ultimately, the US and other Western countries would also realize the reality," he maintained.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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