World must recognize and engage with new reality in Afghanistan, says Pakistan‘s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi alongside Spanish FM Jose Manuel Albares, Spanish minister says ready to provide aid to Afghan people.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Afghanistan’s frozen should be released. Soon after the Taliban took control of the country, the US froze Afghan central bank’s assets worth $9.5billion. It also stopped shipments of cash to the country.
He was talking to media after a meeting with Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares in Islamabad on Friday.
Albares is the sixth foreign minister to visit Pakistan since the Afghan Taliban took Kabul on August 15.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday that there was a new reality in Afghanistan, one the world needed to recognize and engage with.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has talked to as many as 13 heads of state on the Afghan issue, he said.
Qureshi added that during the bilateral meeting, they deliberated on peace in the region and the rehabilitation of Afghanistan. The world should accept the new reality in Afghanistan, said Qureshi, adding that the world needs to engage Afghanistan.
He reiterated the Pakistan government’s stance that it wants peace and stability in Afghanistan. There are some elements that don’t want a stable Afghanistan, the minister said.
Qureshi said that the world needs to save Afghanistan from a humanitarian crisis. It needs to raise funds for it. The economic destruction of this country is not in the region’s interest, he said.
‘Need to focus on humanitarian crisis’
The foreign minister stressed that immediate focus was needed on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. “We have to chip in,” he said.
Qureshi voiced appreciation for an upcoming conference in Geneva on how the international community could contribute in averting a humanitarian crisis and raising funds for Afghans.
He also mentioned Pakistan’s efforts in this regard, talking about the Pakistan Air Force aircraft which landed at Kabul airport on Thursday morning carrying relief goods.
“We will continue to do that through air and land routes and the international community should also do their bit,” Qureshi said.
The foreign minister said that Afghanistan’s economic collapse would not be in the interest of any stakeholder and steps should be taken to avert such an outcome.
He pointed out that he had earlier said that freezing Afghan funds would not be helpful and that the decision should be revisited.
The Spanish foreign minister, meanwhile, said that Spain also wanted peace and stability for Afghanistan. “We want humanitarian assistance to reach the Afghans and we hope that it will be possible,” he said.
He said Spain was close to the Afghan people for 20 years and would “not leave them behind”.
“We want Afghan collaborators that worked with us […] to peacefully leave the country if they wish and come to Spain,” he said.
“We want to work very closely with Pakistan and regional partners to try to make the best of the near future for Afghans.”
Spain is the third largest investor in the European Union. It should take advantage of investment opportunities in Pakistan, said the minister.
He wanted Spain to reconsider its travel advisory for Pakistan.
Recognizing the Taliban government
Qureshi said that Pakistan is still deliberating on whether to recognize the new regime in Afghanistan. We have to see what kind of policy is adopted in Afghanistan and how many commitments are honoured, said Qureshi.
There are ground realities in Afghanistan but there’s no reason to rush in recognizing the Taliban government.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said that his country will call a donor conference on Afghanistan. We want to help the Afghan people, he said.
Spain doesn’t compromise on human and women rights, said the minister.
Albares said after Pakistan, he will be visiting other countries in the region to discuss the Afghan situation. We don’t want an Afghan crisis to impact Pakistan or any other neighbouring country, he said.
The minister said that Spain is ready to provide aid to Afghan people on humanitarian grounds. Provision of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan is a collective responsibility of the international community, he said.
Spain will work with Pakistan in the future for the improvement in Afghanistan, said Albares.
They discussed investment in tourism and other sectors. A bilateral meeting on political consultation between Pakistan and Spain will be held soon in Madrid.
There are around 100,000 Pakistanis living in Spain.