Pakistan reiterates its call to the world not to “abandon” Afghanistan after the takeover of that country by the Taliban.
Pakistan reiterated its call to the world not to ‘abandon’ Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of that country, as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the General Assembly United Nations.
The meeting in New York on Thursday was the highest-level face-to-face meeting between the Biden administration and the government of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan since the US president took office earlier this year.
In brief remarks to the media ahead of the meeting, Blinken said the talks would focus on “Afghanistan and the importance for our countries to work together and move forward on Afghanistan.”
The US Secretary of State also said he appreciated Pakistan’s help in facilitating the departure of US citizens and others from Afghanistan after the Taliban took Kabul in mid-August.
Pakistani authorities say they have so far facilitated the evacuation of more than 13,000 people from Afghanistan, most of them foreign citizens or personnel associated with international organizations.
A Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement on the meeting, released early Friday, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had spoken to Blinken of a “new political reality” in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control.
“While the Taliban must be kept to their commitments, the international community has a moral obligation to help the Afghan people cope with the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” the statement said.
“[Qureshi] I hoped the world would not repeat the mistake of disengaging from Afghanistan.
This message is in line with the Pakistani government’s stance on Afghanistan in recent weeks, calling for immediate international engagement and assistance to avert a potential humanitarian crisis.
As the Taliban continues to put governance and infrastructure back in place, and as poverty, hunger and economic paralysis worsen, analysts say the possibility of a collapse of Afghan government structures is possible without the aid. international.
International donors pledged more than $ 1.1 billion at a conference on Afghanistan last week to address these concerns, but the Taliban also demanded that around $ 10 billion in assets from the bank Central Afghan detainees in foreign countries be freed so that they can be used to solve these problems. problems.
This call was supported by several other countries, including Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s foreign minister also reiterated Islamabad’s call for âan inclusive political settlement in Afghanistanâ.
Earlier this month, the Taliban announced the formation of an interim government headed by interim prime minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund that included several extremist commanders, with women or ethnic minorities in positions of power.
However, on Tuesday, the Taliban expanded that cabinet to include a number of new deputy ministers, some of whom are from ethnic minorities. Women are still not represented in the leadership structure of the Taliban.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Thursday said the decision to expand the cabinet was a “positive” development.
“We have taken note of the expansion of the interim cabinet with representation from different ethnic and political groups,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar said at a weekly press briefing in the capital. , Islamabad.
“This is a positive direction, and we hope that they will continue to take measures leading to lasting stability in the country.”
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.