Regional coordination on Afghanistan

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AT the beginning of his four-nation (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran) regional diplomacy tour, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on Wednesday, emphasized the need for close regional coordination on the emerging situation in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan supports an inclusive government in Kabul as peace in Afghanistan would bring stability to the region, promote trade and facilitate people-to-people linkages.

Afghanistan’s strategic location has made it a virtual battlefield of conflicting regional and global interests and this is one of the major causes of instability and insecurity in that country.

The situation in Afghanistan remained highly volatile during the last over four decades and its impact was badly felt by its immediate neighbours like Pakistan, Iran and Central Asian Republics in terms of law and order/security issues and loss of economic opportunities and meaningful regional cooperation for progress and development.

Though the situation in Afghanistan is still fluid, the gestures so far made by the Taliban offer prospects for much-needed peace and stability.

It is appreciable that the leadership of the regional countries is in constant touch with each other to coordinate their policies and approach on the evolving situation.

A consensus seems to be emerging on the issue of an inclusive government, respect for human and women rights in Afghanistan and the shared objectives of a peaceful, prosperous and connected region.

The similarity of views is understandable as restoration of genuine peace and security in Afghanistan would help implement vital connectivity projects like TAPI and CASA-1000 besides making Gwadar deep-sea port as hub of regional trade and connectivity.

The improvement in the ground situation in Afghanistan would also encourage refugees to go back to their homeland as there are already indications that the displaced people are eager to repatriate, expressing hope the situation in Afghanistan would normalize under the Taliban.

Normalcy in Afghanistan would also unleash unlimited opportunities for investment and trade as the new Government will have to embark upon nation-wide programmes for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

We hope that the consultative process undertaken by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Foreign Minister would augur well for restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan besides encouraging the Taliban to have normal relationship with the outside world.

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