Prime Minister Imran Khan had a telephone conversation with His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar, on 5th September. The conversation between the two revolved around bilateral relations and their respective views on the current situation in Afghanistan.
According to the Prime Minister’s office, PM Khan underscored that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in vital interest of Pakistan and the region. He underlined that after 40 years of conflict and instability, there was an opportunity to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan.
PM Imran Khan emphasized that the world community must remain positively engaged and support the Afghan people at this crucial juncture – both economically and to help rebuild the country. This, he stressed, was crucial to avert humanitarian and refugee crises in the country.
Both the leaders agreed on keeping close contact on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues.
The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact on bilateral matters as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
— Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) September 5, 2021
Earlier on 4th September, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Ms. Lolwah Rashid Mohammed Al-Khater spoke to CNN about the developing situation in Afghanistan. When asked if Qatar fears that the trust being given to Taliban could backfire, she responded saying that “well of course we have our concerns, but this needs to be a trust building process. A constructive dialogue is extremely important. Taliban needs the international community; shutting them down completely is not going to be very helpful in this situation.”
Qatar and Afghanistan
Qatar emerged as a power broker in Afghanistan by helping the Taliban free its key leaders from Guantanamo Bay detention camp, remove its commanders from the Western blacklist, and exchange their prisoners with prisoners of the government of Afghanistan. Qatar views Afghanistan as a bridge to expand its financial, economic and ideological influence in Central Asia.
Qatar is trying to become an integral part of Afghan politics under Taliban rule, primarily through investment and financial assistance and participation in reconstruction. The Taliban need money to stay in power. Da Afghanistan Bank, the central bank of the country, had around $9.5 billion in assets frozen by the United States, including cash shipments, which the Taliban can no longer access.
In addition, international organizations such as the European Union have cut off financial aid to Afghanistan, making it conditional on the Taliban to respect human rights. In this situation, the Taliban are increasingly dependent on Qatari financial aid.
As a result, over the next few years, Qatar will spend this accumulated political capital in an attempt to moderate the more radical groups in Afghanistan and facilitate their integration into the state-building process and intra-Afghan negotiations, all to the ultimate benefit of the new regime’s legitimacy on the world stage.
Pakistan also has a similar stance, as peace and stability in Afghanistan is vital for the growth and prosperity of not only Pakistan but the entire region.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had insisted time and again to solve the problems in Afghanistan through negotiations as wars lead to no results whatsoever. Now the world has seen why Khan was right all along. US spent more than $2.3 trillion in the past 20 years only to see Taliban takeover Afghanistan in a couple of days. If things had been dealt with over conferences and negotiations, the region would have seen less bloodshed.
Now with the new government in power, both Pakistan and Qatar are actively involved in ensuring peace in Afghanistan for the stability of the region as well as better bilateral terms with the neighboring country. Pakistan wants Afghans to be able to return to their homes safely in order to emancipate the refugee crisis. With the rise of a safer, better Afghanistan, the region will be able to see more economic, financial and social growth.