Pakistan ‘monitoring ability of Taliban’ to address international community’s concerns

Pakistan’s Ambassador to United States Asad Majeed Khan has said Islamabad is currently monitoring the ability of the new government in Afghanistan to respond to the concerns of the international community, saying that no country has yet formally recognised the new rulers in Kabul.

In an interview with The Washington Diplomat, Majeed, when asked under what conditions would the country recognise the Taliban government, stated that Pakistan is monitoring the situation.

“We have not recognised the Taliban government,” the envoy was quoted as saying. “No country has formally recognised it, but we are monitoring the ability of the new government in Afghanistan to respond to the concerns of the international community, and to deliver on the commitments and promises that they have been making over a period of time.

“Whether the Taliban actually abide by those is their call. But we have basically laid out our expectations, which is that we want the rights of everyone to be respected. We want that Afghani territory not be used against any other country, including Pakistan. We want human rights and women’s rights to be preserved. But we also believe that instead of indulging in give-and-take on these issues, right now what’s really important is to avert a humanitarian crisis.”

Majeed added that Pakistan would like to see that gains made in Afghanistan over the years be preserved.

Relations with US

To a question, Majeed said that the relations between the US and Pakistan have always been important and critical. “Obviously, since 9/11, we have been essentially (seen) through the prism of Afghanistan. I can tell you that today, we are together on the same side in terms of our interests and expectations in Afghanistan.”

He maintained that the United States wants to see an end to conflict in Afghanistan. “That’s also what we want. And we would like to see that the gains Afghanistan has made over the last few decades are preserved.”

Regional impact after US pullout

To another question regarding the US pullout from Afghanistan and its impact on regional stability, the ambassador pointed out that Pakistan had conveyed to the international community there was no military solution to the conflict and a political dialogue was required. “We also consistently advocated a responsible US withdrawal that would be synchronized with progress in the peace process,” he said.

“Pakistan went out of its way to support the intra-Afghan dialogue,” he remarked.

He added that after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, there has not been an influx of Afghan refugees on Pakistan’s side of the border as it was feared.

“The developments of the past few weeks obviously took everyone by surprise, and have created a lot of confusion. But so far, at least on our side of the border, we have not seen the kind of refugee influx that everyone feared.”

India believes in unilateralism

About ties with India, the envoy said that India is being run by a fundamentalist and ideological government which believes in unilateralism.

He highlighted that, despite efforts by Prime Minister Imran Khan to have friendly relations with India, the Modi-led Indian government chose to have military adventurism leading to misery and oppression in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States will be looking at its relationship with Pakistan in the coming weeks to formulate what role Washington would want it play in the future of Afghanistan.

In the first public hearing in Congress about Afghanistan since last month’s collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government, Blinken told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours.”

Asked by lawmakers if it is time for Washington to reassess its relationship with Pakistan, Blinken said the administration would soon be doing that.

“This is one of the things we’re going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead – the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” he said.