Pakistan calls for inclusive government in Afghanistan, seeks international recognition for Pakistan’s ‘sacrifices’

Amid reports that it had backed the Taliban with medical aid, weapons and air support that enabled the hardline Islamist militia to take complete control of Afghanistan, Pakistan has made a public show of its neutrality urging all stakeholders in the neighboring country to reach an “inclusive” political settlement

Aug 18, 2021
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Inclusive government in Afghanistan

Amid reports that it had backed the Taliban with medical aid, weapons and air support that enabled the hardline Islamist militia to take complete control of Afghanistan, Pakistan has made a public show of its neutrality urging all stakeholders in the neighboring country to reach an “inclusive” political settlement.

With the Taliban marching into the capital Kabul virtually unchallenged on Sunday, when Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani fled allegedly with stacks of money,  participants in a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting reaffirmed that Islamabad would  “continue to work with the international community and all Afghan stakeholders to facilitate an inclusive political settlement”.

The NSC also called for the representation of all Afghan ethnic groups in the government,  respect for rule of law, protection of human rights and ensure Afghan soil is not used by any terrorist organization or group against any country.

While describing it as ‘the way forward’, participants in the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by the civil and the military leadership, also endorsed US President Joe Biden administration’s decision made during the presidency of (Biden’s immediate predecessor) Donald Trump regarding withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, calling it a “logical conclusion to the conflict”.

The meeting also discussed the measures in place if the situation sparked another influx of Afghan refugees to Pakistan.

After the meeting, an official press release issued by the Prime Minister Office (PMO) said the NSC emphasized that Pakistan remained committed to an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.

The PMO stated the meeting, which was attended by chiefs of the armed forces as well as senior cabinet members, also decided that the principle of “non-interference in Afghanistan” must be adhered to.

When contacted, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn that the meeting minutely reviewed the Afghan situation and called on all stakeholders to arrive at a political settlement of the conflict.

So far, “major violence had been averted” during the Taliban’s reclaiming of Kabul, the NSC observed while asking all parties in Afghanistan to “respect the rule of law, protect fundamental human rights of all Afghans, and ensure that Afghan soil is not used by any terrorist organization/group against any country”.

The NSC emphasized that the international community “must recognize the sacrifices made by Pakistan” over the last four decades.

The security committee asserted that there was never a military solution to the Afghanistan conflict.

“The ideal time to end the conflict through negotiations might have been when the US/Nato troops were at maximum military strength in Afghanistan. Continuation of foreign military presence for a longer duration now would not have yielded a different outcome,” it observed.

“Therefore, US President Joe Biden administration’s endorsement of the decision made during the Donald Trump presidency — to withdraw all United States troops from Afghanistan — was indeed a logical conclusion to this conflict,” the meeting said.

“It is now time for the international community to work together to ensure an inclusive political settlement for long-term peace, security and development of Afghanistan [and] the region,” it added.

PM Khan issued an order for the repatriation of Pakistani citizens, diplomats, journalists, and international organizations operating in Afghanistan.

(SAM)

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