Important to closely coordinate next steps: FM tells Afghan delegation

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that it is important to closely coordinate the next steps for the benefit of Afghanistan and the region as the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as US-led forces departed and Western nations scrambled on Monday to evacuate their citizens.

In a press conference on Monday, the FM said that a meeting with an important delegation from Afghanistan comprising different ethnic groups was held. He said the meeting was called to exchange views on the current and evolving situation in Afghanistan.

“I had the chance to represent Pakistan’s views to them and listen to their expectations from us,” Qureshi said.

He said the meeting took place at a crucial time as Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened an emergency meeting on Monday of the National Security Committee to discuss the Afghan situation.

He said he had also talked to the foreign minister of Denmark who was concerned about his people in Kabul and their safe departure.

“I was happy to inform them that we have safely evacuated their people. Around 380 people have reached Pakistan and we will help them depart for Denmark,” Qureshi said.

“Pakistan is planning on sending more flights to Afghanistan to bring back missions, media personnel and others who want a safe exit and will facilitate them.”

The FM continued that every country’s priority is the safe evacuation of their people but a safe engagement is required for peace. The tension in Afghanistan and frenzy should be controlled and peace should be maintained, FM Qureshi said.

Earlier, the FM took to Twitter and said that their ultimate objective is a peaceful, united, democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

 

During the meeting, the FM told the delegation there is clear international convergence in support of the peace and reconciliation process, adding that it is critical for Afghanistan leaders to unite for an “inclusive and comprehensive political settlement”.

He hoped that all Afghan leaders would work together for the supreme national interest of the country.

He also reiterated that Pakistan believes that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward in Afghanistan. “We do not wish to see continued cycle of civil war & want the people of Afghanistan to thrive, not simply survive,” Qureshi said. The FM also urged that the international community must remain in contact with Afghanistan.

 

Meanwhile, five people were killed in chaos at Kabul airport on Monday, after US troops fired in the air to deter people trying to force their way onto a military flight that was set to take U.S diplomats and embassy staff out of the fallen city.

The chaos came as Taliban officials declared the war over and issued statements aimed at calming the panic that has been building in Kabul as the group, who ruled from 1996 to 2001, routed the US-backed government’s forces.

President Ashraf Ghani fled from the country on Sunday as the militants entered Kabul virtually unopposed, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

Five killed at chaotic Afghan airport

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said in a message on Twitter their fighters were under strict orders not to harm anyone.

“Life, property and honour of none shall be harmed but must be protected by the mujahideen,” he said.