Shah Mahmood Qureshi asks the US to revisit its frozen Afghan funds’ decision
ISLAMABAD, Sep 23 (Asia Free Press): Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that his country has so far not officially recognized the new Taliban government in Kabul but Pakistan has no other option except to live together with Afghanistan.
During an interview with Turkish broadcaster, TRT World, Qureshi said Afghanistan is Pakistan’s immediate neighbor and they have to deal with them.
“We haven’t officially recognized them [Taliban government], but as an immediate neighbor, we have to deal with them,” he said.
“There are issues that we have to deal with daily, for example, trade going into Afghanistan and to Pakistan, border crossings, etc,” he explained.
Referring to the recent evacuation of diplomats and foreign nationals from Afghanistan, Qureshi said “the world wanted Pakistan to help them in evacuating foreign nationals. Now how could we have done that without engaging with them.”
“Some countries had the luxury of getting up and leaving [but] we don’t have that luxury, we have to live there as we coexist, geography, has tied us together.”
Since August 15, Pakistan has evacuated over 14,000 foreign nationals, including western and other countries diplomats and Afghan nationals who worked with US and NATO countries during the last 20 years in Afghanistan.
“Look at the dichotomy, on one hand, you are raising funds, collecting people in Geneva, and getting fresh pledges to avert a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan [while] on the other hand, that the money that’s available and can be used for Afghan people for food and medicine and whatever is required, that has been frozen,” Pakistan Foreign Minister questioned.
He was referring to the US decision that frozen over $9.5 billion Afghan government funds last month after the Taliban take over Kabul.
“It doesn’t make sense. I think they should revisit that policy. And it will be counterproductive,” Qureshi asked Washington.