Pakistan’s envoy to Kabul called on the international community Saturday to help strengthen Afghanistan’s security forces, warning that deploying militiamen to fight the Taliban could worsen the situation in the violence-wracked country.
"threat from the Islamic State affiliate group in Afghanistan has led US military planes to perform rapid, diving combat landings at the airport, which is surrounded by Taliban fighters. Other aircraft have fired flares on takeoff"https://t.co/p5xoXfjdQw
— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) August 22, 2021
On Friday, veteran warlord Ismail Khan — whose forces helped topple the Taliban in 2001 — vowed to back government forces fighting against the insurgents.
Pakistan’s envoy Khan said more international cooperation was needed in support of President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which he said was a “legitimate government at the moment in Afghanistan”.
“Therefore all the countries, the international community, have to extend all possible support to Afghanistan in dealing with the security challenges,” Khan said.
He also expressed concern that a worsening situation in Afghanistan could trigger a fresh wave of refugees crossing into Pakistan.
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“If the situation continues to worsen and deteriorate in Afghanistan… there can be an influx of refugees because of very close cross-border cultural contexts and religious context existing between our two societies,” he said.
“Our first effort or first focus is to avoid things going into that direction,” he said, insisting that a political solution was the only way to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan. “If there is an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement, it will be in the interest of not only Afghanistan but all of Afghanistan’s neighbours.”
"Instead of ten one-year response plans over the next decade, the international community should develop a long-term strategy for how the world—with U.S. leadership—will provide a future to displaced Afghans," writes CSIS's @ErolYayboke. https://t.co/hYHgGHJ9dJ
— CSIS (@CSIS) August 25, 2021
Afghan officials have regularly blamed Pakistan for backing the Taliban for decades.
The hardline Islamist movement originated among young Afghans who studied in Sunni Islamic schools in Pakistan after fleeing Afghanistan during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.
Pakistan was one of only four countries to recognise the legitimacy of the first Taliban government between 1996 to 2001 — the others being Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and the UAE.
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© AFP with additional inputs from GVS