OIC urges Afghans not to let
country become ‘terrorist haven’


DUBAI: The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) pledged on Sunday to help achieve peace in Afghanistan and said its future leaders must guard against allowing the country to be used as a backyard for international militancy.

The organisation urged “the future Afghan leadership” and the international community to work together to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for “terrorists”.

“Terrorist organisations are not allowed to have a foothold (in Afghanistan),” said a final communique, issued after the Saudi Arabia-based organisation held a special meeting called by Riyadh to discuss the situation in the war-torn country.

This file photo shows the national flags of the members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states flying in front of the clock of the Abraj al-Bait Towers in Makkah.

The body’s calls and decisions are mostly symbolic, but it shows mistrust towards the Taliban who took over Kabul last week, and how some Muslim countries are concerned about the new reality on the ground in Afghanistan. The statement called on Afghan parties to resolve their differences “peacefully”.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held telephonic conversation with OIC Secretary General Al-Othaimeen, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office. Qureshi underscored the importance of ensuring safety, security and protection of the rights of the Afghan people.

The foreign minister had said that it was important for the Muslim world to show solidarity with Afghan people in their quest for a “peaceful, united, stable and prosperous” Afghanistan. “The success of negotiations in Kabul would not only benefit Afghanistan but also the region.”

OIC Headquarter in Jeddah

Noting the significance of efforts towards establishing an inclusive government, the foreign minister warned of the spoilers within and outside Afghanistan, who wanted to take advantage of the situation in the country.

The OIC secretary general had apprised the foreign minister of an extraordinary OIC executive meeting that was held in Jeddah at the level of ambassadors/permanent representatives.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said on Sunday that it would seek to help achieve peace in Afghanistan and to facilitate evacuation operations from the country. The emergency meeting was requested by Saudi Arabia. 

OIC meeting in progress in Riyadh on Sunday

During an emergency meeting of the 57-member body to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen called on the Taliban to respect international humanitarian law and the right to life and security.

Al-Othaimeen added that the organization expected a comprehensive dialogue and national reconciliation from the authorities in Afghanistan.

The OIC’s final communiqué said that member states were concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as a result of the influx of displaced people.

It added that the organisation is committed to helping Afghanistan and bringing peace to the country. The OIC stands with the Afghan people and emphasized that their rights should be protected, the statement said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday telephoned Secretary General OIC Secretary-General, Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen to discuss Afghanistan situation. 

OIC meeting in progress in Riyadh on Sunday

In his Tweet, FM Qureshi said, he shared commitment to continue playing a constructive role for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. He also urged the international community to stay engaged and support Afghanistan’s economy, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

In a Twitter post on Sunday, the OIC, a key international organization representing 57 Muslim countries, said the “open-ended” talks with its permanent representatives were being held at the invitation of Saudi Arabia.

Qureshi told Al-Othaimeen during a phone call that Pakistan will “continue to play its constructive role in promoting sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.” 

“He added that it was also important for the Muslim Ummah to show its traditional solidarity with the Afghan people in their quest for a peaceful, united, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” the foreign office said in a statement. 
During the call with Al-Othaimeen, Qureshi expressed hope Afghan leaders would work for an inclusive political settlement and that “the talks in Kabul would succeed, leading to an inclusive and participatory government that would bring lasting peace, progress and prosperity to Afghanistan.” 

Qureshi on Friday urged Afghan leaders to sit together and work out a future political structure for Afghanistan that included all “stakeholders,” saying the world was eager to see the Taliban fulfill their promises. 

“Everyone wants peace and stability in Afghanistan, no one wants bloodshed,” he said in a statement. “Everyone wants that the Afghan Taliban and former rulers sit together and shape such a structure that would include all stake-holders.”