RAWALPINDI: A meeting of top military commanders in Pakistan on Tuesday expressed concern about the brewing humanitarian and security crisis in Afghanistan, and called on the international community to remain engaged in the war-ravaged country to ensure peace and stability in the region.
Poverty and hunger have worsened since the Taliban takeover in August of Afghanistan, a country already suffering from drought and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half a million people have been displaced in Afghanistan in recent months, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
The overall situation in this regard was reviewed and expressed concern during the 244th Corps Commanders Conference chaired by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ.
Pakistan and world powers are also concerned that the country might yet again become a sanctuary for militant groups. Even so, Islamabad has repeatedly called on the international community to remain engaged with Kabul, saying the Taliban can be incentivzed to keep their promises on human rights and militancy if they are provided continued development and humanitarian aid and recognized by the world.
A conference of corps commanders of the Pakistan army, led by army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, took a “comprehensive review of evolving security situation in the region,” the army said in a statement.
“Forum expressed concern over the brewing humanitarian cum security situation in Afghanistan, concluding that meaningful engagement and sustained support by international community is imperative for paving way for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the larger region,” the military said.
Leaders around the world have pressed that the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the only leverage other countries have to push the group toward forming an inclusive government and respecting human rights, particularly for women in Afghanistan.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said the forthcoming G20 summit must send a clear message to Afghanistan’s Taliban on the conditions for international recognition.
In an interview with France Inter radio station broadcast, Macron said those conditions must include equality for women, access for foreign humanitarian operations and non-cooperation with terror groups.
“I believe international recognition should have a price, and the dignity of Afghan women, equality between men and women, should be one of the points on which we insist, and should be a condition for us,” Macron said.
Most Western nations have echoed Macron’s sentiments though countries like Pakistan and China have said the world must engage with Afghanistan “without strings.”
The Pakistan Army’s top brass also expressed the resolve to take necessary measures to safeguard Pakistan’s territorial integrity in the face of “malicious propaganda” by the Indian military, the army’s media wing said.
The commanders undertook a comprehensive review of the evolving security situation in the region, with a particular focus on border management and internal security, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.
The forum was apprised of the measures being taken to “thwart nefarious designs of inimical forces to destabilise Pakistan and spoil the hard-earned peace and stability”, the press release said.
While taking serious note of the “malicious propaganda by Indian military”, the meeting expressed the resolve to take all necessary measures to protect Pakistan’s territorial integrity. “The baseless propaganda only reflects their frustration and an attempt to divert attention from their internal contradictions especially gross human rights violations being committed in [Indian-occupied Kashmir],” Gen Bajwa remarked.
In his comments, the army chief appreciated the operational preparedness of army formations and their focus on training, in addition to enhanced collaboration with foreign militaries and the conduct of joint exercises in the operational and counterterrorism domains.