CIA chief discusses Afghan situation with COAS Gen Bajwa

CIA chief discusses Afghan situation with COAS Gen Bajwa

According to a statement from the military’s media wing, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Joseph Burns met with Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday to discuss the developing situation in Afghanistan.

According to the statement, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was also present during the meeting, which focused on the Afghanistan situation and regional security following the US withdrawal and the formation of the Taliban government in Kabul.

“It was reiterated that Pakistan remains committed to cooperate with its international partners for peace in the region and ensuring a stable and prosperous future for [the] Afghan people,” the ISPR said.

The CIA director praised Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan, particularly the successful evacuation operation and efforts to maintain regional peace, and promised to work with Pakistan to enhance diplomatic relations at all levels. The US intelligence director had already visited New Dehli, where he met Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, before arriving in Pakistan.

The international world has praised Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan’s situation, calling for regional security and peace.

In a statement seen by many as Islamabad’s attempt to gain international support for the Afghan Taliban’s interim government, Pakistan asked the world to abandon “old lenses” and adopt a “realistic and pragmatic” attitude to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the remark one day after the Taliban established an interim government, which attracted condemnation from Western nations for rejecting calls for a more inclusive administration.

He also recommended that the Taliban-run Afghanistan be invited to a regional conference of six countries to assist the country to avoid a humanitarian and economic catastrophe.

Qureshi attended two important Afghanistan meetings. First, he held a virtual conference of Iran’s, China’s, Uzbekistan’s, Turkmenistan’s, and Tajikistan’s foreign ministers. Later, he attended a meeting co-hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Qureshi’s message was clear in both meetings: the world needs to embrace the new reality and move forward appropriately.

Despite the fact that he did not say so, his carefully worded speech implied that Pakistan wanted the international community to cooperate with the Afghan Taliban administration.

“The new situation requires discarding old lenses, developing new insights, and proceeding with a realistic and pragmatic approach,” he told the virtual meeting.

Pakistan’s attempts to gain support for Afghanistan’s new administration come from its concerns of an economic collapse and humanitarian catastrophe of the international community abandons the neighboring country.

Qureshi, speaking at a conference sponsored by the US and Germany, even advocated for the unfreezing of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves, which were frozen by the US following the fall of Kabul.

“The international community must put the Afghan people first,” he told the meeting attended by the foreign ministers of Turkey, UK, Spain, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, UAE, and the NATO secretary-general.

“We have to take care that in denying Afghanistan access to its foreign reserves or international financial institutions, we do not end up adding to the miseries of the long-suffering Afghan people,” he said.

The Afghanistan State Bank had approximately $9 billion in foreign reserves at the time of Kabul’s fall, but the US had blocked its assets, preventing the Taliban from accessing them. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, for example, have halted their financing for Afghanistan.

“It is in our collective interest that our actions do not make economic migrants of millions of Afghans who are otherwise content to live in their own country,” Qureshi added.

Afghanistan, according to the minister, is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster.

“We have all seen the reports of famine, food shortages, and soaring inflation in Afghanistan.”

He encouraged the international community to keep diplomatic missions in the war-torn country.

“There is some consolation that the sudden collapse of the former Afghan government has not caused the mass exodus of refugees from Afghanistan that we had feared. But we must be cautious that economic meltdown does not instead trigger such a crisis.”

Qureshi proposed that the regional platform of neighboring nations be transformed into a regular consultation forum.
“I also suggest that we may give consideration to the idea to invite Afghanistan in future,” he proposed.
“The participation of Afghanistan will augment this forum’s effectiveness in pursuing our shared objectives for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Separately, the Foreign Office expressed optimism that the unveiling of the temporary political framework in Kabul will address the need for a governance structure to fulfill the pressing requirements of Afghans in the first official response.

“We hope that the new political dispensation will ensure coordinated efforts for peace, security, and stability in Afghanistan as well as work towards taking care of humanitarian and development needs of the Afghan people,” the statement added.

Pakistan has reiterated its unwavering commitment to a peaceful, stable, sovereign, and prosperous Afghanistan, according to the statement.

On Thursday (today), the Qatari foreign minister will pay a visit to Islamabad, marking the latest visit by a high-ranking foreign official to address the developing situation in Afghanistan.

The government has agreed to send humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, including food and medications, according to a separate statement released by the foreign affairs ministry.

“Three C-130s are being dispatched to Afghanistan. After the first immediate tranche through the air, further supplies would continue through land routes,” it read.

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