Pakistan Foreign Minister says global community must not abandon Afghanistan

He warned against repeating mistakes of the past, as it will have ‘serious consequences’

August 31, 2021 05:00 pm | Updated 07:33 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R) along with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas addresses a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan August 31, 2021.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R) along with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas addresses a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan August 31, 2021.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday warned the international community not to abandon Afghanistan, saying repeating the mistakes of the past and an economic collapse of the war-torn country will have serious consequences.

Addressing a press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas, who is here on a two-day trip to discuss bilateral issues and regional situations, he said that this is a pivotal moment in Afghanistan's history.

“The international community must remain engaged. Humanitarian assistance must flow. Do not let the economic collapse in Afghanistan take place," Mr Qureshi said.

He warned against repeating mistakes of the past, saying abandoning Afghanistan is not an option as it will have “serious consequences”.

Mr Qureshi said that the international community's cooperation was essential for ensuring stability in Afghanistan and the visiting German foreign minister would be in a better position to assess the situation and also realise the importance of staying engaged in Afghanistan.

"It will give you a very good holistic view of what the challenges are, what the concerns are, what the opportunities are and what needs to be done in the days ahead," he said.

Mr Qureshi urged the world to remain vigilant about the role of spoilers in Afghanistan. The international community has to discern between those standing for peace and the spoilers.

He said Pakistan has been hosting over three million Afghan refugees for decades and emphasised the need for creating an environment in Afghanistan so that the need for another exodus does not arise again.

Commenting on the collapse of the Ghani government, Mr Qureshi said they were not speaking the truth on the actual situation in Afghanistan.

He said that the recent statements by the Taliban were encouraging and they will have to show respect for human rights and international norms.

Mr Maas, in his remarks, said while the Taliban had made commitments and pledges to form an inclusive government, it remained to be seen whether they would keep the promises.

"It is important for us that all Afghans, even those who do not support the Taliban, feel represented by this government and it remains to be seen whether the Taliban take this into account,” he said.

He said that Germany was preparing in close coordination with other nations to organise charter flights after the Kabul airport became functional again and take eligible people to Germany.

Mr Qureshi also said Germany, an important investor in Pakistan, is one of the largest trading partners in the European Union and there were possibilities of enhancing trade with it by developing economic linkages.

Earlier, Mr Qureshi and Mr Maas led their sides in the delegation-level talks, which focused on the promotion of bilateral cooperation in diverse fields, and regional peace and security, particularly the Afghanistan situation.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US's complete troop withdrawal on August 31 after a costly two-decade war. This forced Afghan President Ghani to flee the country to the UAE.

The Taliban insurgents stormed across Afghanistan and captured all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.

Thousands of Afghan nationals and foreigners have fled the country to escape the new Taliban regime and to seek asylum in different nations, including the US and many European nations, resulting in total chaos and deaths.

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