Monday Feb 17, 2020
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said that the United States has realised that it could not just pack bags and leave Afghanistan, like it had done it the past, because it still had a role to play in the region and the war-torn country.
"I was pleased to hear that the US has realised that they cannot pack their bags and leave, like they left earlier on. They have to have a plan of withdrawal, and that plan should be supportive of peace and reconciliation," he said at a press conference in Islamabad.
"Even when they are drawing down, they do have a role to play in the region, and in Afghanistan. International community is important, their continued support will be required," he added, sitting alongside United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"Lastly, we all collectively have to be wary of the spoilers. There are spoilers inside, and there are spoilers outside. So collectively, we have to defeat their designs and attain peace," the foreign minister warned, referencing similar statements made by the UN in the past.
The UN chief, who also spoke on the occasion, said that he extended his deep gratitude to the generosity and hospitality of the people of Pakistan who had received millions of Afghan refugees in their country for over 40 years with open hearts and open homes.
"I extend my deep gratitude for the generosity and hospitality of Pakistan which has received for 40 years millions of Afghan refugees. In a world where so many borders are closed, in a world where so many refugees are rejected or stigmatised, Pakistan has opened its borders," he said.
"Pakistanis have opened the doors of their homes and their hearts to support Afghan refugees. Pakistan has provided the world with a global public good, and it is time for the international community to assume its responsibilities and to support Pakistan very meaningfully," he added.
"I also pay tribute to the resilience and courage of the Afghan refugees, the displaced Afghans and the Afghans living in difficult conditions in their home countries, and to say that it is time for Afghans to have a chance for peace, and development," he said.
"This is an opportunity for peace that we cannot miss. We do not have the right to miss this opportunity. No Afghan will forgive us if this opportunity is not seized. It is absolutely essential that all Afghan leaders and all members of international community do everything possible to make peace become a reality," he concluded.