Afghanistan foreign minister also for first time attending Troika Plus meeting over Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The Troika Plus meeting over Afghanistan on Thursday started in Islamabad to discuss the latest situation in the war-torn country.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed the special envoys of world powers and said the meeting was held after three months, and during this period, Afghanistan has gone through a fundamental transformation.
“A new administration is functioning in Kabul; the interim cabinet was instituted, and the international community carried out a massive evacuation,” Qureshi said.
The meeting is attended by the special representative for Afghanistan of China, Russia, Pakistan and the US, while for the first time, Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqqi is also participating in the group meeting.
“The redeeming factors were: no bloodshed; the much-dreaded mass exodus of new refugees did not occur; encouraging announcement from Taliban on the future step and, most importantly, the international community has remained engaged,” Pakistan top diplomate said.
He urged the international community that the engagement with Afghanistan must continue and be enhanced for multiple reasons.
“Nobody wishes to see a relapse into civil war; no one wants an economic collapse that will spur instability; everyone wants terrorist elements operating inside Afghanistan to be tackled effectively and; we all want to prevent a new refugee crisis.”
He warned the world community that today Afghanistan stands at the brink of an economic collapse.
“With international funding dried up, it has become difficult to pay even salaries, let alone pursue development projects. The commoner is reeling under the effects of a severe drought,” he said and adding that any further downward slide will severely limit the new administration’s capacity to run the government.
“It is, therefore, imperative for the international community to buttress provision of humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis.
Health, education and municipal services require urgent attention.”
He again urged the US to unfreeze Afghanistan funds that Washington frozen after the Taliban seized power on August 15.
“Enabling Afghanistan to access its frozen funds will dovetail into our efforts to regenerate economic activities and move the Afghan economy towards stability and sustainability,” Qureshi said and urged the. Its agencies also find ways to reach out to the ordinary Afghan and help stabilize the situation.
The US froze around $9.5 billion that badly hit the Afghan economy, and the new Taliban government was even unable to pay salaries to government employees.
Talking about his country’s position over Afghanistan’sAfghanistan’s current situation, Qureshi said that being located next door, his country has borne the brunt of four decades of conflict and instability in the shape of refugees, drugs, and terrorism.
“We see the current situation as an opportunity to end the prolonged conflict,” he said.
Pakistan’s top diplomate informed the participants that the Taliban are interested in engagement and seek international acceptance and support.
“It is, therefore, crucial that the international community avoids repeating mistakes of the past and continues with positive engagement.”
“For our part, I reaffirm my Prime Minister’sMinister’s resolve to help Afghanistan on its path towards peace, progress and prosperity,” he concluded.
On Wednesday, India also held a security meeting over Afghanistan attended by some countries from central Asia, including Iran.
However, China and Pakistan rejected the Indian invitation and did not attend the meeting.
Last week, Pakistan National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf said that “how a spoiler of peace could be sincere in peace in Afghanistan.”