Qureshi says Taliban govt heading towards inclusivity

UNITED NATIONS: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi appreciated the Afghan Taliban Wednesday for including various representatives of ethnicities in Afghanistan, calling on the world to not abandon the country at this critical juncture. 

The international community has warned it will judge the Taliban by its actions, and that the recognition of a Taliban-led government would be linked to the treatment of women and minorities, international media reported.

“As per my information, the government in Afghanistan is expanding and other ethnicities are also being included in it,” said the foreign minister while virtually addressing the Foreign Press Association on the occasion of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“If this report is true then they are moving towards collectivism and inclusivity, which is the right direction. The international community is talking about a comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan. The international community wants to make sure that terrorist groups have no place in Afghanistan. At the same time, the Taliban have also announced that they will not allow the Afghan territory to be used against any country. We expect the Taliban to live up to their promises responsibly.”

Foreign Minister Qureshi said it was the right decision by the US to withdraw their forces after they achieved their goals, as according to Washington, its mission in Afghanistan has been completed.

Like Pakistan, all neighbours of Afghanistan want peace in the country, said Qureshi. He said that responsible behaviour from the Taliban government was in the group’s own interest. 

Qureshi said the Taliban’s announcements of an end to war, respect for human rights and amnesty are encouraging, hence the international community should not leave Afghans alone at this critical juncture.

He pointed out that Afghan women can be seen protesting on the streets in viral videos on social media. Qureshi said the same was not possible 20 years ago, adding that it is an indication that things are changing in Afghanistan. 

Welcoming the apportionment of $1.2 billion in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in Geneva, the foreign minister said unfreezing Afghans’ frozen assets will help lift the country out of a humanitarian crisis.

He also noted that Pakistan has been hosting more than three million Afghan refugees for the past four decades without the help of the international community. He warned the world that if the situation in Afghanistan worsens, the risk of refugees’ influx will increase. 

Pakistan cannot afford any more refugees, he added.

Qureshi said Pakistan extended unrestricted help for the safe evacuation of diplomatic staff and citizens of different countries from Kabul but unfortunately, Pakistan’s positive efforts were not appreciated. 

The foreign minister also said India wants to create instability in Pakistan. “India used Afghan territory against us, the proof of which we have presented to the world,” he said.

“We want peace and stability in the region. But, in response to our desire for peace, India has taken unilateral steps in Kashmir on August 5, 2019 to aggravate the situation.”