FM Qureshi to meet Afghan counterpart on SCO sidelines
Peace in Afghanistan is possible only if all stakeholders sit together, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Tuesday.
The foreign minister is in Dushanbe to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Council of Foreign Ministers conference.
“We want peace in Afghanistan but it will only be possible if all the parties sit together and talk,” he said on SAMAA TV show Naya Din.
Qureshi said he wanted to take advantage of his presence in Dushanbe and talk to the regional countries about developments that are taking place in Afghanistan.
“I want to present Pakistan’s perspective on the situation and benefit from their assessment,” he said.
The foreign minister said he had a detailed meeting with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirajuddin Mehruddin on the matter.
“Today, I have meetings scheduled with the foreign ministers of Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan, Afghanistan, Russia and China,” he said.
“These are all the players who are not only monitoring the Afghan situation closely but also has a role to play in making things right.”
Qureshi said he would be meeting his Afghan counterpart today. “I would try to understand how we can help them.”
He said that he would ask the Afghan representative for how long are they going to keep blaming Pakistan.
“Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and let’s find a solution together,” he said.
The Taliban have swept through much of northern Afghanistan in recent weeks, and the government now holds little more than a constellation of provincial capitals that must largely be reinforced and resupplied by air.
As foreign forces wind up their withdrawal — due to be completed by August 31 — the situation on the ground is changing rapidly.
The top US general in Afghanistan relinquished his command Monday at a ceremony in the capital, the latest symbolic gesture bringing America’s longest war nearer to an end.
The pace of the pullout — and multiple offensives launched by the Taliban — have raised fears that Afghanistan’s security forces could be swiftly overwhelmed, particularly without vital US air support.
Around 650 American service members are expected to remain in Kabul, guarding Washington’s sprawling diplomatic compound.
Peace talks between the insurgents and the government supposedly taking place in Doha have largely fizzled out, and the Taliban now appear set on a complete military victory.
But claims by the hardline group to control 85 percent of the country are impossible to verify independently — and strongly disputed by the government.