Pakistan is expected to play a major role in the government formation by the Taliban in Afghanistan as Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is likely to be in Kabul on Sunday. Qureshi on Friday said Pakistan is determined to play a “positive role” in Afghanistan as he appealed to the Taliban insurgents and former rulers of the war-ravaged country to formulate an all-inclusive political government after mutual consultations. Our envoy in Afghanistan is also in touch with different Afghan personalities, he said in a statement.
The Taliban insurgents swept Kabul on Sunday after the US-backed Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing an unprecedented end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform the war-ravaged nation.
The foreign minister said the Afghan delegation visiting Pakistan held talks with him and Prime Minister Imran Khan. Qureshi said some “anti-peace elements” are active to play the role of spoiler. He said it is the test of Afghan leadership’s sagacity as to how they cope with such challenges.
He also said that it is time for all the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan to sit together for consultations. He announced that he will visit neighbouring countries in the next few days to chalk out a comprehensive strategy after consultations.
Afghan Delegation In Pakistan:
The Afghan delegation which visited Pakistan on Thursday called for the formation of an inclusive government through a power-sharing deal with all stakeholders in the war-torn country.
Comprising Speaker Wolesi Jirga Mir Rehman Rehmani, Salahud din Rabbani and former Afghan vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni among others, the delegation met top civil and military leadership including Prime Minister Khan, Qureshi, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. General Faiz Hameed. Addressing a press conference at the conclusion of the visit, Rahmani said the next phase in Afghanistan was the formation of a government.
The new government will only succeed if all stakeholders are made part of it, he said, adding that in case the Taliban failed to form an inclusive government the country could return to the post-1996 situation. Rehmani said the new government should be acceptable to the people and it should ensure freedom of speech and the rule of law in Afghanistan.
The delegation members told the media that a larger delegation would also visit other countries to seek support for their demands, and said the process has started from Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s embassy was functional in Kabul and extending facilitation to all those seeking visas and wanting to utilise Pakistan as a transit point to leave Afghanistan, while its national carrier operating to pull out the foreigners as well Pakistanis.
Evacuation From Afghanistan:
Radio Pakistan reported that a special flight of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) will bring 350 passengers from Afghanistan on Friday. The passengers include representatives of the World Bank and other world institutions. So far, PIA helped to evacuate about 1,100 people, including diplomats, staff of diplomatic missions and international agencies and journalists from Kabul.
Expect Taliban To Protect Women’s Rights: Army Chief
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday expressed hope that the Taliban will fulfil their promise of protecting women and human rights and not allow Afghan soil to be used for militant activities against any other country. “We have unambiguously and repeatedly asked the global community to play its part in an inclusive and unbiased Afghan process as well as economic sustenance of Afghanistan,” he said in his address to the faculty and cadets at PMA.
General Bajwa said Pakistan paid a huge price for instability in Afghanistan and despite its own economic challenges, Islamabad has hosted over 3 million Afghan refugees for more than 4 decades. Pakistan will continue to play its role for peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said
Pak’s Strategic Interest in Afghan To Counter Indian Influence: US Report
Pakistan’s strategic security objectives in Afghanistan almost certainly continue to be countering Indian influence and mitigating spill over of the Afghan civil war into Pakistani territory, a US government report has said, citing inputs from the Defence Intelligence Agency. “Pakistan continues to support peace talks, while maintaining ties with the Afghan Taliban,” US Department of State Office of the Inspector General noted.
The report for the quarter April 1 to June 30 said the Pakistani government is concerned that a civil war in Afghanistan would have destabilising effects on Pakistan, including an influx of refugees and providing a potential safe haven for anti-Pakistan militants.
During the quarter, financial contributions to the Afghan Taliban increased in the Pakistan border regions, according to media reports, citing eyewitness sources. Solicitation efforts traditionally targeted mosques, but Afghan Taliban militants now openly visit the bazaar areas in nearby Pakistani towns, it said. “The militants typically solicit contributions of USD 50 or more from shopkeepers. Local residents told reporters that solicitation efforts were now commonplace in the towns and cities of Quetta, Kuchlak Bypass, Pashtun Abad, Ishaq Abad, and Farooqia,” it said.