New quad launched for Afghan stability

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, US join hands to foster regional trade and business ties


News Desk July 16, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a group photo at the "Central and South Asia 2021: Regional Connectivity: Challenges and Opportunities" conference in Tashkent on July 16, 2021. PHOTO: PID

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and the United States have formed a new diplomatic platform to support peace and stability in Afghanistan and foster regional trade and business ties, the Foreign Office and the State Department announced simultaneously on Friday.

The announcement about the formation of the ‘Quad Regional Support for Afghanistan-Peace Process and Post-Settlement’, came after representatives of the four nations agreed in principle to establish a new platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity, the Foreign Office said.

“The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional-connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing,” the Foreign Office statement read.“Recognising the historic opportunity to open flourishing international trade routes, the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links and strengthen business-to-business ties,” the statement added.

Both the Foreign Office as well as the State Department said that the members of the quadrilateral diplomatic forum agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus.

The State Department also shared a picture on its Twitter handle, depicting foreign ministers of Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan standing with US Representative for Afghanistan on the sidelines of the Central and South Asia Conference 2021 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

“Today, we announced a new diplomatic platform to help strengthen economic connectivity across the region. We look forward to partnering with Afghanistan, Pakistan & Uzbekistan to enhance regional cooperation, a cornerstone to sustained peace,” the department said in its tweet.

The platform is launched as concerns have continued to mount in the recent weeks about the longevity of the Afghan government as the Taliban continues to make battlefield gains against government forces across Afghanistan.

The situation was deteriorating in Afghanistan since the US announced it withdrawal for the country after over 20 years of fighting. Pentagon had announced earlier this week that the process to pull out all US forces from Afghanistan is about 95% complete.

(WITH INPUT FROM AGENCIES)

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