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Pakistan

'Changed reality in Afghanistan': FM Qureshi calls for 'pragmatic approach'

  • Foreign minister says Pakistan hopes that the political situation stabilises at the earliest, leading to normalcy
  • Remarks come following Taliban's announcement of new govt leaders
Updated 08 Sep, 2021

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the world is now grappling with a changed reality in Afghanistan, adding that the new situation requires discarding old lenses, developing new insights, and proceeding with a realistic and pragmatic approach.

Qureshi's remarks come as the Taliban announced veteran Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund as the leader of their new government, while giving key positions to some of the movement's top officials on Tuesday.

Chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be one of two deputy leaders, alongside Abdul Salam Hanafi, a member of the group's political office in Doha, Qatar.

Mullah Yaqoob, the son of the Taliban founder and late supreme leader Mullah Omar, was named defence minister, while the position of the interior minister was given to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the feared Haqqani network who also doubled up as a Taliban deputy leader.

Taliban veteran Akhund named head of new govt

Addressing the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Afghan issue attended by China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on Wednesday, the FM said that the events of the past few weeks have catapulted the region to gain global spotlight.

He said no one could have anticipated the recent turn of events in Afghanistan, saying that all previous assessments and predictions proved wrong. "Notwithstanding the un-anticipated and sudden nature of these developments, it is important to note that the much dreaded bloodshed has not occurred," he said.

The prospect of a protracted conflict and civil war seems to have been averted, he said, adding that one thing is certain, "we all are grappling with a changed reality in Afghanistan".

Commenting on the Taliban's announcement of an interim government, the foreign minister said that Pakistan has noted this development and hopes that the political situation stabilises at the earliest leading to normalcy.

"The new situation requires discarding old lenses, developing new insights, and proceeding with a realistic and pragmatic approach," Qureshi said. "At the center of our endeavors must remain the well-being of the Afghan people, who have suffered enormously due to conflict and instability for over 40 years."

ISI chief's visit to Kabul necessary in absence of formal government: Fawad

The minister shared some points to help enable Afghanistan get "through this testing time and realise its full potential". Sharing the points, the minister said that the key priorities are to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, reaffirming full commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

"We must stress that Afghan issues should have Afghan solutions. We must make clear that Afghan soil should not be allowed to be used against any country," the FM said.

Steps to prevent economic meltdown in Afghanistan

Foreign minister Qureshi said that it was equally important to take steps to prevent an economic meltdown in the country. If a humanitarian crisis is prevented and economic stability is assured, then peace can be consolidated and a mass exodus precluded, he said.

"It cannot be stressed enough that this requires enhanced engagement of the international community, particularly at this pivotal juncture. Renewed diplomatic and international presence in the country would reassure the Afghan people," Qureshi added.

He continued that urgent provision of humanitarian assistance, with the United Nations and its various agencies playing a lead role, would reinforce that process of confidence-building.

"Afghanistan’s access to its financial resources would be pivotal in preventing a collapse and reviving the economic activity," the foreign minister maintained.

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