- Foreign minister says everyone wants terrorist elements operating inside Afghanistan to be tackled effectively
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that engagement with Afghanistan must continue and it should be enhanced for multiple reasons.
Addressing a Troika Plus Meeting in Islamabad on Thursday, Qureshi said nobody wishes to see a relapse into civil war and an economic collapse that will spur instability in Afghanistan. "Everyone wants terrorist elements operating inside Afghanistan to be tackled effectively and prevent a new refugee crisis," he stated.
He highlighted that all of us have common concerns and also have a shared interest in the country's peace and stability.
The foreign minister expressed confidence that Troika Plus's engagement with the new Afghan government will help consolidate peace and stability, promote sustainable economic development and help constrict space for terrorist outfits operating from and within Afghanistan.
"Afghanistan stands at the brink of an economic collapse. It is, therefore, imperative for the international community to provide humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis."
He mentioned that being an immediate neighbour, Pakistan has a direct stake in Afghanistan's peace and stability.
The foreign minister said enabling Afghanistan to access its frozen funds would help regenerate economic activities and move the Afghan economy towards stability and sustainability.
Similarly, he said, the UN and its agencies must be urged to find ways to reach out to the common Afghan and help stabilise the situation.
"With a shared heritage and history, we consider every ethnic community of Afghanistan important in the final destiny of the country," he said.
“Located next door, we have borne the brunt of four decades of conflict and instability in the shape of refugees, drugs and terrorism,” he said. “We see the current situation as an opportunity to end the prolonged conflict”.
He mentioned that Pakistan had already taken a number of steps to facilitate the common man in Afghanistan. These include a waiver of customs duties on perishable food items to support farmers in Afghanistan, provision of humanitarian assistance, facilitating pedestrian movement, keeping the border open during COVID-19 and visa on arrival for medical cases.
Troika Plus mechanism holds high importance'
Earlier, the Foreign Office said in a statement that Pakistan attaches high importance to the Troika Plus mechanism on the situation in Afghanistan.
It added that special representatives for Afghanistan from China, Russian Federation, United States and Pakistan are participating in the meeting over the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan hopes that deliberations of the Troika Plus meeting would contribute to the ongoing efforts for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that they support all international efforts that are beneficial towards promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan, and firm up consensus on all sides.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference on Wednesday that the group welcomes the various regional meetings. "We have no worries, the meetings will be for Afghanistan's benefit because the entire region believes that the security of Afghanistan is for the benefit of all," he said.