PM discusses Kabul takeover with world leaders

Premier stresses need for ensuring safety, security and respect for rights of Afghans


Our Correspondent August 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday discussed the situation in Afghanistan in the wake of Taliban's quick seizure of Kabul with world leaders.

Speaking with British PM Boris Johnson on the phone, the premier underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan.

He also stressed the need for ensuring the safety, security and respect for rights of all Afghans.

PM Imran also underscored the importance of an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.

He highlighted the positive role of Pakistan in facilitating the evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organisations from Afghanistan.

The two prime ministers agreed to remain in contact on the evolving situation in the neighbouring war-torn country.

Johnson said Britain would work with other countries to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and any recognition of the new government must be on an international basis.

“The prime minister [Johnson] stressed his commitment to work with international partners to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and the wider region," a Downing Street spokesperson said after the call with PM Imran.

The premier also received a telephone call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan.

PM Imran underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region.

He also stressed the need for the safety and security as well as protection of the rights of all Afghans.

“Pakistan is reaching out to all Afghan leaders. The international community must also stay engaged, particularly to support the people of Afghanistan economically,” he added.

In a telephonic conversation with his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen, PM Imran shared Pakistan's perspective, emphasising the importance of ensuring safety and security as well as protection of rights of all Afghans.

He also underscored the importance of working out an inclusive political settlement.

Also read Taliban say they want peace, will respect women's rights under Islamic law

Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while speaking to American Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the phone, underlined that Pakistan would remain closely engaged with the US and other international partners for promoting a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

The foreign minister and the US secretary of state discussed the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden earlier defended the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after the Taliban's stunning military takeover that triggered panic in Kabul with thousands mobbing the airport in a desperate attempt to flee.

In his first public appearance since the group seized control of the country at the weekend, he admitted the Taliban advance had unfolded more quickly than expected.

During the telephonic conversation, Qureshi shared Pakistan's perspective, noting the significant change in the situation within a short span of time and the avoidance of violence.

“Continued US economic engagement with Afghanistan is of crucial importance as well,” the minister said, further stressing the importance of an inclusive political settlement as the best way forward.

He also informed Blinken of Pakistan's efforts to facilitate the evacuation of personnel and staff of diplomatic missions, international organisations, media and others.

On Pakistan-US bilateral relations, the foreign minister underlined Islamabad’s commitment to forging a broad-based, long-term and sustainable relationship with Washington that was anchored in peace, deeper economic cooperation and regional connectivity.

In a tweet, Qureshi said Pakistan had always demonstrated a constructive role in Afghanistan, including its efforts in facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and many other economic and humanitarian efforts.

“Our mission in Kabul is working tirelessly to issue visas, to evacuate diplomats, NGO workers, and media personnel,” he added.

In another statement, Qureshi said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was, once again, denied the opportunity to speak at the UN Security Council meeting held on Monday over Afghanistan.

He regretted that at this critical juncture in the destiny of Afghanistan, India's partisan and obstructionist actions, repeatedly politicising this multilateral platform whose raison deter was peace, spoke volumes of its intention for Afghanistan and the region.

(With input from agencies)

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