Urges the US, IMF to unfreeze Afghan government funds
The world must develop a road map for recognizing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan as the legitimate successor to the US-installed government, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday.
He said that the international community should promise incentives if the Taliban fulfilled a goal, “they would make it easier for themselves … They will get acceptability, which is required for recognition”.
The concept was outlined by the foreign minister in an interview with the Associated Press (AP) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s meeting.
Urging the international community to realize the situation, he said: “What’s the alternative? What are the options? This is the reality, and can they turn away from this reality?”
Pakistan, he said, was “in sync” with the international community in its desire to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan with no space for terrorists.
The Taliban, Qureshi insisted, should ensure that “Afghan soil is never used against any country”.
He pointed out that the previous way of handling Taliban had not worked, saying that an “innovative way of engaging with them (the Taliban)” should be devised.
Qureshi said that the Taliban leadership could be expected to form an inclusive government in addition to extracting from them assurances for human rights, especially for women and girls.
Subsequently, he said, the Afghan government might be motivated by offers of development, economic and reconstruction aid.
Urging the United States, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other countries to immediately release frozen Afghan government funds “for promoting normalcy in Afghanistan”.
Pakistan, he said, was ready to play a “constructive, positive” role in opening communications channels with the Taliban because it, too, would benefit from peace and stability.
In the weeks since the withdrawal of US troops, many countries expressed disappointment over the composition of the Taliban’s interim government, terming it not inclusive enough.
Although the Taliban allowed younger girls to return to schools, they had not yet allowed older girls to attend secondary school classes and they had also barred women from returning to their jobs.
In April this year, the Taliban had promised that women “can serve their society in the education, business, health and social fields while maintaining correct … hijab”.
A realistic and pragmatic assessment would set the tone for eventual recognition, the foreign minister said.
Taliban, he said, were listening, and they were “not insensitive to what is being said by (their) neighbours and the international community”.
Qureshi reminded that the recent additions to the interim government included representatives from Afghanistan’s ethnic minorities — Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras.
“Yes, there are no women yet but let us let the situation evolve.”
Stressing upon the Taliban to take decisive action, he said that it would boost their acceptability.
In his opinion, the world should “sit together and work out a roadmap”, he said.
“With this roadmap ahead, I think an international engagement can be more productive,” Qureshi said.
“An Afghanistan where the rights of women and girls are respected, an Afghanistan that won’t be a sanctuary for terrorism, an Afghanistan where we have an inclusive government representing the different sectors of the population.”
In the meantime, he asserted, things seem to be stabilising.
Pakistan, Qureshi said, had information that the security situation in Afghanistan had considerably improved over the past month and a half and “fighting has stopped and many internally-displaced Afghans are going home”. He termed it a positive sign.
He said that Pakistan had not seen “a new influx” of Afghan refugees.
Qureshi prescribed patience and realism, saying: “Don’t expect new efforts to produce immediate success with the Taliban”.
He pointed out that the US and its allies had not been unable to “eliminate them in two decades, how will you do it in the next two months or the next two years?” he wondered.
Asked what Afghanistan might be like in six months, Qureshi countered by replying: “Can you guarantee me US behaviour over the next six months?”
Meeting With ICRC Chief
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a meeting with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer.
He urged the world to support large Afghan refugee-hosting countries in line with the principle of international responsibility and burden-sharing.
He also underscored the importance of economic stability for consolidating peace and sustainable development in Afghanistan.
Appreciating ICRC efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people in complex situations, he said that the international community should earnestly engage with Afghanistan and provide necessary humanitarian and development assistance to the Afghan people.
OIC Contact Group
Qureshi also addressed a meeting of OIC contact group in New York where he said that the resolution of the Kashmir issue was necessary to materialize the dream of peace in South Asia, adding that the Kashmir issue should be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the UN Security Council and Kashmiri people.
Pakistan, he said, was ready to engage with India for resolving the Kashmir dispute but India “must create a conducive environment”.
Accusing India of try to change the demographic composition of Indian occupied Kashmir, Qureshi said that the Indian government had issued 4.3 million fake domiciles.
Highlighting the barbarism perpetrated by India, the Foreign Minister said that the treatment meted out during the burial of the late Kashmiri leader, Syed Ali Gilani, was among glaring injustices.
He requested the Secretary-General OIC to distribute the copies of this dossier among all members of OIUC.