Secretary of state says Taliban government’s relationship with international community will be defined by its own actions
The world should not repeat its mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan, as stability in the war-torn state is essential to ensure it is never again exploited by terrorist groups, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.
“We have to find a way of collectively working to achieve our common objective, which is peace and stability,” Qureshi told Blinken in their first face-to-face meeting, which occurred on the sidelines of the ongoing 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly. According to a statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office, the foreign minister emphasized that close engagement between Pakistan and the United States had always proved mutually beneficial and facilitated stability in South Asia.
He reiterated that Pakistan desired a balanced relationship with the U.S. that was anchored in trade, investment, energy and regional connectivity, and stressed Islamabad’s commitment to facilitating efforts for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan. He said that only a stable and broad-based government in Afghanistan, reflecting its diversity and preserving the gains made by the country since 2001, would be able to ensure that Afghan soil is never again exploited by transnational terrorist groups.
Referring to a “new political reality” in Afghanistan, Qureshi said that while the Taliban should be held to their commitments, the international community could not abandon its moral obligation to help the Afghan people overcome a looming humanitarian crisis in their country.
During their meeting, the foreign minister also highlighted the grave human rights situation in India-held Kashmir and underscored the importance of resolving the longstanding dispute for lasting peace and stability in South Asia.
According to the Foreign Office, Blinken had appreciated Pakistan’s support for the evacuation of foreign nationals from Afghanistan prior to Washington’s exit, as well as its ongoing efforts for peace in the region. He told reporters that he believed the world was united on pressing the Taliban after speaking with Pakistan, China and Russia. “I think there is very strong unity of approach and unity of purpose,” he said.
“The Taliban says that it seeks legitimacy, that it seeks support, from the international community. The relationship that it has with the international community is going to be defined by the actions it takes,” he added, reiterating the Taliban’s pledges to the global community, including allowing Afghans and foreigners to leave; respecting the rights of women, girls and minorities; and not letting Afghan soil be used again by extremists such as Al Qaeda.
The State Department, in a statement, said Blinken had highlighted “the importance of coordinating our diplomatic engagement” in talks with Qureshi.