IN line with Pakistan’s declared policy of extending fullest possible cooperation in restoration of complete peace in Afghanistan and facilitate the efforts aimed at formation of an inclusive Government, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a fruitful exchange of views on telephone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
This process of consultations on the Afghan issue is paying dividends as is evident from the unanimity of views between the Prime Minister and the Saudi leader as both the leaders agreed that the international community must “step up its engagement” with Afghanistan to avert any humanitarian and refugee crisis.
According to a statement issued by the PM Office, they also agreed on the importance of an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, no doubt, deserves credit for playing a pivotal but crucial role in the given situation in the neighbouring country where the Taliban, contrary to the apprehensions previously expressed by some circles/powers are making desperate efforts to stabilize the situation with the help of different segments of Afghan population but they still being viewed with skepticism by some countries that are bent upon stirring a fresh crisis in a country that badly needs peace and security.
It is also encouraging that the Taliban, who signed peace accords both with the United States and the then Kabul Government, are sticking to their commitment to forming an inclusive Government even after their dramatic entry in Kabul and securing almost full control of the country.
However, it is regrettable that those who accuse the Taliban of ‘possible’ human rights violations are conspiring to derail the process of dialogue, providing support to elements that are willing to play into their hands.
This became evident from the situation in the Panjshir Valley where the Taliban tried their best to resolve the problem through dialogue but the other side did not cooperate and wanted the Taliban to accept unacceptable demands.
The Taliban were denied any say in the affairs of Afghanistan for the last twenty years as the country was ruled entirely by anti-Taliban elements but now ‘defenders’ of Panjshir want a more share in Government than they deserve.
These are the countries that have no real stakes in peace as their vested interests are served by continuity of chaos at the cost of blood and fundamental rights of Afghan people.
Their intention became clear when top US General Mark Milley claimed that Afghanistan faces a wider civil war that would offer fertile ground for a resurgence of terrorism.
It seems plans are afoot to create a perception that is used as a camouflage to trample Afghan sovereignty through drone and missile strikes.
In this backdrop, Pakistan is doing well to sensitize the international community about the dangers ahead and the need for complete solidarity with the new set-up in Kabul.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia harmonized their strategies and policies on Afghanistan in the past as well and they can surely make a difference through coordinated efforts with other like-minded countries.
Irrespective of the nefarious propaganda campaign launched by the Indian media, Pakistan cannot remain indifferent to what is happening in Afghanistan and it is duty bound to make efforts for restoration of peace and tranquillity there as this is deeply linked to the peace and progress of Pakistan and overall interest of the region.
Other neighbouring countries like China, Iran and Central Asian Republics have somewhat similar interests in Afghanistan and there are good prospects for the formation of an alliance for peace in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan rightly pointed out that the international community had the responsibility to stand by the Afghan people and support them economically as well as to help rebuild the country.
The countries that formed part of the so-called coalition in Afghanistan, which inflicted heavy loss on life and economy there hear special responsibility in respect of reconstruction.
The apprehensions that the US General have expressed can be addressed only by extending sincere cooperation to Afghanistan both in their quest for an inclusive government and rebuilding of the devastated country.
We also hope that China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have the necessary resources, would take a lead in announcing meaningful aid and economic packages for Afghanistan.