Pakistan hosts virtual meeting with Afghanistan's neighbours
As the situation in Afghanistan rapidly unfolds, it’s important for the international community to take steps to prevent a humanitarian crisis and economic meltdown in the country, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Wednesday.
Addressing a virtual conference with Afghanistan’s neighbours — China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — he discussed the political developments in the country after the Taliban takeover.
“Mass exodus in the country can only be precluded if a humanitarian crisis is prevented and economic stability is assured,” Qureshi pointed out. “Diplomatic and international presence in the country will safeguard the Afghan people.”
The minister stressed the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance, with the United Nations and its agencies. This will reinforce the confidence-building process. “Afghanistan’s access to financial resources is pivotal in preventing an economic collapse and reviving the economy.”
How the situation evolves will have profound implications for Afghanistan, our region, and the world at large, he said, adding that the new situation requires discarding old lenses, developing new insights, and proceeding with a realistic and pragmatic approach.
“It is clear that no one could anticipate the recent turn of events from the meltdown of security forces to the collapse of the Afghanistan government.”
The minister was relieved that “much-dreaded bloodshed” in the neighbouring country has been prevented and a mass exodus of refugees has not yet taken place.
“The centre 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,” he concluded.
On Tuesday, the Taliban announced UN-sanctioned Taliban veteran Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund as the leader of their new interim government, while giving key positions to some of the movement’s top officials.
Akhund had served as deputy foreign minister under the Taliban’s old regime, and is on a UN blacklist.
Chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference that Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy leader. Previously he served as the head of his movement’s political office, overseeing the signing in 2020 of the US withdrawal agreement.
Other portfolios in the interim government: