Friday Aug 20, 2021
Pakistan has a "big" responsibility in Afghanistan after Taliban take over, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday, days after the insurgents ousted the Ghani-led government following their 10-day lightning strike.
The secretary's comment came as he responded to a question after the meeting of NATO's foreign affairs ministers — held online — had ended.
“What we have witnessed in recent days is a tragedy for the people of Afghanistan,” the secretary-general said while speaking via video link.
NATO’s top priority is continuing the evacuation of people from allied and partner countries, and Afghans who have worked with NATO, the secretary-general said.
Stoltenberg said Pakistan, as a neighbour, has a big responsibility regarding Afghanistan, because, in addition to its Afghan leadership, Islamabad has "special ties with the Taliban".
Islamabad is also responsible for preventing Afghanistan from falling back into the hands of terrorists, the secretary-general said.
For Pakistan's efforts of peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmed Khan a day earlier had met former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and chief of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Abdullah Abdullah.
Khan said he had "constructive discussions on efforts for lasting stability in Afghanistan", as Pakistan tries to play its role for peace in the country following Taliban's takeover.
The meeting came days after Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid had "assured" his nation that after consultations — that will be completed very soon — Afghanistan would witness the formation of a strong, Islamic, and inclusive government.
Given the situation, Prime Minister Imran Khan — three days back — held discussions with German, Danish and UK leaders regarding the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
The premier told them that while Pakistan is reaching out to all Afghan leaders, the international community must also stay engaged, particularly to support the people of Afghanistan economically.
PM Imran Khan on Tuesday had also told a delegation of Afghan political leaders that "great responsibility" rests on the war-torn country's leaders to work constructively together to lead Afghanistan on the path of sustainable peace, stability, and development.
"No other country is more desirous of peace and stability in Afghanistan than Pakistan," the premier told the delegation.
The National Security Committee (NSC), on August 16 just a day after the Taliban had taken over the country, had reiterated that Pakistan aspires for peace in the war-torn country.
The NSC noted that Pakistan was a victim of the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan and, therefore, desired peace and stability in the neighbourhood.