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Afghanistan cannot be abandoned, Taliban must fulfill promises: PM Khan tells SCO Summit

Prime Minister Imran Khan joined other regional leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Dushanbe. Source: APP/PM’s Office.

DUSHANBE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday called on the international community to stand with the people of Afghanistan, saying the Taliban must fulfill their promises.

The prime minister was addressing the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit in Dushanbe. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry were also present.

The prime minister said that it was also important to ensure respect for the rights of all Afghans while ensuring that it is never again a safe haven for terrorists.

“The Taliban must fulfill the pledges made above all for inclusive political structure where all ethnic groups are represented. This is vital for Afghanistan’s stability,” he said.

He said that Pakistan had an interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. “We will continue to support a stable, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan,” he said.

PM Imran Khan said that a “new reality” had been established in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover and withdrawal of foreign troops.

“That all this happened without bloodshed, without civil war, and without mass exodus of refugees, should be a matter of relief. 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,” he said.

The prime minister said that preventing a humanitarian crisis and an economic meltdown were “equally urgent priorities”.

“We must remember that the previous government depended heavily on foreign aid and its removal could lead to economic collapse,” he said, adding that now was the moment to stand with the Afghans.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was warmly received by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon. Source: APP/PM's Office.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was warmly received by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon. Source: APP/PM’s Office.

He commended the United Nations secretary-general for mobilising support for humanitarian assistance. He added that Pakistan was also playing its part in evacuation efforts.

“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,” he said.

He said that spreading negativity or indulge in propaganda will only undermine the prospects for peace. He highlighted that sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan will ultimately benefit the region.

PM Imran Khan said the government had shifted its focus from geopolitics to geo-economics. “Our new economic security paradigm has three central pillars: peace, development partnerships, and connectivity.”

He said that Pakistan offered the shortest route to the sea for many of its partners in Central Asia. He commended the Uzbekistan president for hosting a conference on regional connectivity in Tashkent last July.

Earlier on his arrival at Nauroz palace, the venue of the SCO meeting, the prime minister was warmly received by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon.

At the welcome ceremony, PM Imran Khan and other participating leaders of SCO member states posed for a group photograph with President Emomali, the head of the host country.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the event would open up opportunities for Pakistan to collaborate with regional countries at the SCO platform and also discuss ways for a peaceful Afghanistan.

National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said Pakistan would reiterate its stance that the international community must maintain the policy of engagement with Afghanistan.