‘World shouldn’t repeat mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan’

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Pakistan’s foreign minister Qureshi stressed Pakistan commitment to an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan…reports Asian Lite News

US top diplomat Antony Blinken and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly session on Thursday.

According to Dawn, the meeting began at 1 pm New York time at Palace Hotel in New York City.

This is the first in-person meeting between the two leaders.

Pakistan’s foreign minister Qureshi stressed Pakistan commitment to an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.

He also emphasised the importance of the international community holding the Taliban to their commitments and recognise its moral obligation to help the Afghan people with the growing humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.

“The world should not repeat the mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan,” he stressed.

Following the meeting, Qureshi said he had reiterated Pakistan’s focus on a relationship with the US based on trade, investment, energy and regional connectivity.

Meanwhile, Blinken said: “We have had many opportunities to speak on the phone these many months, but finally now an opportunity at the UN General Assembly to see each other in person. A lot to focus on, starting with Afghanistan and the importance of our countries working together and going forward on Afghanistan.”

“I thought a time would come where we’d be talking beyond Afghanistan, but it seems Afghanistan is there, we can’t wish it away, and we have to find a way of collectively working to achieve our common objective, which is peace and stability.

Earlier, Qureshi said that Islamabad wants strong ties with the US amid the frayed ties between the two countries post messy military drawdown from Afghanistan.

Speaking at the session of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the minister said both Pakistan and the US have the ingredient to build a broad-based relationship between the two countries, reported Radio Pakistan.

This comes as the US has expressed its desire to reassess ties with Pakistan. Blinken informed Congress last week that Washington is going to be looking at its ties with Pakistan in the coming weeks to formulate the role America wants Islamabad to play in the future of Afghanistan.

During his first testimony in Congress after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, Blinken noted that Pakistan has “harboured” members of the Taliban including the terrorists from the proscribed Haqqani network.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

During an interactive session in New York on Tuesday, Qureshi stated that Pakistan wants to leverage its connectivity infrastructure including China Pakistan Economic Corridor to enhance regional trade and economic integration.

The minister added Pakistan’s climate-friendly energy policy offers opportunities for US companies specialised in clean and renewable energy.

Pakistan has shifted its focus from geo-politics to geo-economics and can work with the US through the development of Finance cooperation to general economic activity on the Afghanistan border, the minister added.

Qureshi’s pitch to improve ties comes at a time when Washington is seen giving a cold shoulder to Islamabad.

Notably, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has not received any call from US President Joe Biden since assuming office. The Pakistan Prime Minister recently came to the defence of the US President by saying that Biden faced “unfair criticism” over withdrawal from Afghanistan and it was the “most sensible thing” to do.

“There was so much unfair criticism of President Biden, and what he did was the most sensible thing to do,” said Khan, in an interview given to Russia Today last week. (ANI)

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