Time to stand by Afghanistan, firmly and unequivocally: PM

Author: APP

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday called upon the regional countries to ‘resist any drift towards bloc politics’ and stressed pursuing the approach of peaceful coexistence.

“Peaceful coexistence and cooperation – not confrontation, should be the main drivers of global politics,” he said in his address at the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State meeting, held in the capital of Tajikistan.

The summit gathered the Presidents of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, the leaders of observer states, foreign ministers, and the heads of international and regional organizations.

The prime minister said addressing the threats to international and regional peace and security was a vital interest for SCO. He said the fight against terror would not be won if such threats and challenges were ignored, with state-terrorism being the biggest one, perpetrated against people living under foreign occupation in disputed territories.

Imran Khan said Afghanistan was, rightfully, the focus of attention in view of the recent developments. He said the sudden change of the previous government which surprised everyone; the takeover by the Taliban, and the full withdrawal of foreign forces, has established a new reality in Afghanistan. He said it was a matter of relief that all this happened without bloodshed, without civil war, and without mass exodus of refugees. “It is now in the international community’s collective interest to ensure that there is no renewed conflict in Afghanistan and the security situation is stabilized.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan stressing equally urgent priorities to prevent a humanitarian crisis and an economic meltdown in Afghanistan said, “We must remember that the previous government depended heavily on foreign aid and its removal could lead to economic collapse,” and added, “this is a moment to stand by the Afghan people, firmly and unequivocally.”

Imran Khan commended the UN Secretary-General and UN agencies for leading from the front in mobilizing international support for the immediately needed humanitarian assistance.

He said apart from helping in the international evacuation efforts, Pakistan has extended all possible support in the provision and facilitation of humanitarian relief. “We believe positive engagement of the international community with Afghanistan is extremely important There is a rare opportunity to finally end the 40 years of war in Afghanistan; this moment should not be squandered,” Imran Khan stressed.

He said it would be unwise at this critical juncture to spread negativity, or indulge in mischievous propaganda, as some spoilers have sought to do, and pointed that it would only serve to undermine the prospects for peace, to the detriment of the Afghan people. He said the Taliban, on their part, must fulfill the pledges made above all for an inclusive political structure where all ethnic groups are represented. This, he pointed, was vital for Afghanistan’s stability and also important to ensure respect for the rights of all Afghans, and ensure that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for terrorists.

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