Pakistan in no hurry to recognise Taliban

Notwithstanding numerous reports of its backseat driving in Afghanistan since the Taliban captured power, Pakistan said on Tuesday it is no hurry to recognize the Taliban administration and advised the regime to be more sensitive to international norms

Sep 21, 2021
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Pakistan-Taliban

Notwithstanding numerous reports of its backseat driving in Afghanistan since the Taliban captured power, Pakistan said on Tuesday it is no hurry to recognize the Taliban administration and advised the regime to be more sensitive to international norms.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers should understand that if they want recognition and assistance in rebuilding the war-battered country, they have to be more receptive to international opinion.

At the same time, Qureshi urged the United States and other countries that have frozen money from the former Afghan government to release it because "that's Afghan money that should be spent on Afghan people".

He said the most urgent priority was averting an even deeper economic collapse of the neighboring nation that could trigger a humanitarian catastrophe.

Qureshi, who is in New York to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said countries are watching to see how things evolve in Afghanistan before considering recognition.

“I don't think anybody is in a rush to recognize at this stage and the Taliban should keep an eye on that,” he said.

If the Taliban want recognition, “they have to be more sensitive and more receptive to international opinion,” he said.

The minister said Pakistan's objective was peace and stability in Afghanistan and to achieve that "we would suggest to Afghans that they should have an inclusive government".

He said their initial statements indicate they aren't averse to the idea, so "let's see".

Qureshi expressed the hope the Afghan Taliban would live up to their promise that girls and women would be allowed to go to school, college and university.

The United States froze $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets and international lenders have stayed clear of Afghanistan, wary of providing money that could be used by the Taliban.

After having played a key role in the Taliban’s victory in the Afghan civil war by reportedly extending medical aid and air support, Pakistan is believed to have played an extended role in the formation of the interim government constituted by the Sunni Islamist militia.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was expected to be the prime minister, was only made a deputy prime minister. Baradar, incidentally, was imprisoned in Pakistan for eight years, till the US ensured his release to help the Afghan peace process.

The presence of Pakistan intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed’s presence in the Afghan capital Kabul around the time of the government formation has been cited as further proof of Pakistan’s role as an influencer in Afghanistan. The four key cabinet berths given to the pro-Pakistan Haqqanis have only buttressed the argument of this school of analysts.

The recent reported assault on Baradar by Anas Haqqani in the Afghan palace during a ministerial meeting and Hameed’s support to the latter is also indicative of Pakistan’s behind-the-scenes activity.

(SAM)