PM for ‘sustained engagement’ with Afghanistan

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Pak-German bilateral relations discussed; Taliban to form govt in a few days: FM; Haas thanks Pakistan for supporting evacuations


Staff Reporter
Islamabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday stressed a “sustained” engagement by the international community with Afghanistan following the completion of the US troops’ withdrawal from the war-torn country.

The premier’s comments came during his meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Prime Minister Office, where both leaders exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan-Germany bilateral relations, a statement said.

“The prime minister underscored that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was vitally important for Pakistan and the region,” the statement said.

The premier stressed at this pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history, it was important for the international community to stand in solidarity with the Afghan people and continue supporting them.

Imran Khan underlined that urgent steps were needed to stabilise the security situation, address humanitarian needs, and ensure economic stability in Afghanistan. “These would require sustained engagement with Afghanistan,” he said.

The prime minister underscored that both Pakistan and Germany should work closely for the promotion of shared interests relating to regional peace and stability.

FM Heiko Maas conveyed cordial greetings of Chancellor Merkel to PM Imran Khan, the statement said.

Sharing Berlin’s viewpoint on the evolving situation in Afghanistan, he thanked Pakistan for its support and facilitation of Germany’s evacuation endeavours in Afghanistan.

FM Maas also highlighted the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Pakistan-Germany diplomatic relations during 2021, the statement said.

“The two countries are holding a series of events to celebrate this milestone in a befitting manner,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, addressing a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad that Afghanistan is set to form its own government in a few days, said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday, hours after the last US soldier left Afghanistan.

“We expect that a consensus government will be formed in the coming days in Afghanistan,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a news conference.

Qureshi said Pakistan was already hosting three million Afghan refugees, adding that they were being provided all facilities including health, education etc.

“Pakistan has kept its borders open. People are travelling between the two countries and trade is also going on,” he said.

Qureshi called on the international community to provide Afghanistan with every possible help. “Pakistan wishes to see a stable, prosperous and progressive Afghanistan,” he added.

The German foreign minister, on the other hand, welcomed the Afghan Taliban’s recent statements in which they have promised no retribution and assured to uphold human rights in the country.

Haas said it would be better if a broad-based, inclusive government was formed in Afghanistan.

He said that the situation in Afghanistan had changed “dramatically”, adding that Pakistan had helped in the evacuation of the citizens of Afghanistan, Germany and other countries.

“I have spoken to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the Afghanistan issue,” he said. “We would like to thank Pakistan for evacuating German citizens from the country.”

The United States expects the Taliban to live up to their commitments now that US troops have pulled out of Afghanistan, but any legitimacy or support will need to be “earned,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.

America’s top diplomat, speaking just hours after the final US evacuation flights left Kabul, said Washington has suspended its diplomatic presence in Kabul as of Monday and shifted its operations to Qatar.

“Our troops have departed Afghanistan,” Blinken said. “A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun.

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