WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Asad Majeed Khan, has urged the international community to facilitate the Taliban and other Afghan parties to come to a common understanding and form an inclusive government in a bid to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.
“This is really the time an opportunity for international community to come together and I think we owe it to the people of Afghanistan,” he said, adding that that was the best way to prevent deterioration of the situation and a civil war in the country. The Taliban were themselves anxious to restore normalcy and order there, he said.
The Pakistani envoy, who was responding to questions from BBC Correspondent Yalda Hakim, said some reports in the international media about violations of human rights might not be true.
“We are hearing that things are returning to normal; we are also seeing no Afghan refugees on border crossings,” Ambassador Khan said. “We are also seeing the restoration of commercial traffic,” he said pointing out that the situation was by and large close to normal in all the major cities of Afghanistan.
Replying to a question, the ambassador said Pakistan did not control the Taliban and had even lost whatever leverage it had over the group.
Successive Afghan governments, he said, had made allegations about Pakistan’s involvement with the Taliban in an attempt to shift the focus on their corruption and failures, and “our detractors in the region” also used Kabul’s accusations to malign Pakistan.
Pakistan, he said, did have linkages with the Taliban like several other countries. The United States too had been having talks with the group.
Ambassador Khan said Pakistan was doing its part to evacuate diplomats, representatives of international organizations and Afghans wishing to leave Afghanistan. But, he said, Pakistan, which already had 3.5 million refugees, would not accept more refugees.
“We are already overburdened by the refugees, and it is beyond our capacity to host any more refugees,” he added.
UN security Council
Pakistan has called for the international community’s continued engagement with Afghanistan in the backdrop of Monday’s UN Security Council resolution so as to prevent the “spoilers” from disrupting prospects for peace and stability in the war-torn country.
“Pakistan is working closely with the regional countries as well as members of the international community for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” a spokesperson of the Pakistan Mission to the UN said Tuesday.
The resolution that the 15-member Council adopted on Monday called on the Taliban to allow safe passage for those seeking to leave Afghanistan, and not allow the Afghan territory to be used to threaten or attack any nation or shelter terrorists.
Thirteen Council members voted in favour of the resolution, which demands access to the country for humanitarians and upholding of human rights, including for women and children.
China and Russia, two of the Council’s permanent members, abstained on the resolution, which was drafted by the United States, Britain and France.
Commenting on the resolution, the spokesperson said Pakistan has been calling on the international community to stay engaged with all relevant parties and to respond to the current situation in a “careful and a calibrated manner”, taking into account the prevailing ground realities in Afghanistan.
“We believe that continued constructive engagement of the international community is vital towards ensuring the success of ongoing efforts for achieving an inclusive political set-up; seeking continued cooperation in the process of evacuation; as well as addressing the human rights and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.”
The initial draft of the UNSC draft resolution did not enjoy consensus, it was pointed out. Both in Islamabad as well as through the Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Munir Akram, Pakistan closely engaged with the members of the Security Council in making the text more balanced and constructive.