Thursday Aug 26, 2021
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa on Thursday heaped praise on Pakistan's efforts in evacuating the financial institution's personnel from Afghanistan.
The ADB president's praise for Pakistani efforts came during his call with Prime Minister Imran Khan, a statement from the PM's Office said.
The prime minister also acknowledged the cooperation of ADB with Pakistan in mitigating the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including supporting the procurement of vaccines.
Earlier in the day, the premier received a telephone call from the President European Council Charles Michel. Both sides exchanged views on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.
The prime minister highlighted the positive role of Pakistan in facilitating the evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organizations and others from Afghanistan.
At this, the President of the European Council thanked the prime minister for hosting evacuees in transit.
The prime minister shared Pakistan’s perspective, stressing that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan was in the vital interest of Pakistan and the region.
The prime minister underscored the importance of ensuring safety and security as well as protection of the rights of all Afghans.
"An inclusive political settlement is the best course forward."
Expressing hope that the Afghan leaders would continue to work together to achieve that end, the premier reaffirmed that Pakistan would steadfastly support all efforts in this direction.
The prime minister underscored that stabilising the security situation in Afghanistan was essential to preserve peace, effectively respond to any humanitarian challenges, and ensure economic well-being of the Afghan people in their country.
PM Imran Khan added that the current situation in Afghanistan required sustained engagement of the international community.
It is vitally important to remain in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and to extend support to them to ward off any humanitarian challenges and ensure economic sustenance, he said.
The prime minister added that Pakistan would continue to remain in close contact with regional and international partners to promote shared objectives of peace, stability, and development in Afghanistan, which would benefit the region and beyond.
The prime minister and president European Council agreed that both sides should remain in contact and coordinate closely on the situation in Afghanistan.
Suspected suicide bombers struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport with at least two explosions on Thursday, causing a bloodbath among desperate civilians hoping to flee and casting the final days of the Western airlift of its allies into chaos.
A Taliban official said at least 13 people including children had been killed. A surgical hospital run by an Italian charity said it was treating more than 60 wounded. The Pentagon said US personnel were among those hurt.
Video images uploaded to the internet by an Afghan journalist showed a pile of bloodsoaked bodies in a street surrounded by debris. The man filming it was wailing.
The airlift for civilians is in its final days, with Washington saying it will use the last two days mainly to pull out its own troops. Allies that fought alongside US forces for 20 years in Afghanistan have been wrapping up their own evacuations while publicly lamenting Washington's haste in pulling out.
Canadian forces halted their evacuations of around 3,700 Canadian and Afghan citizens on Thursday, saying they had stayed as long as they could.
"We wish we could have stayed longer and rescued everyone," the acting chief of Canada's defence staff, General Wayne Eyre, told reporters.
Biden ordered all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the month to comply with a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban negotiated by his predecessor Donald Trump. He spurned calls from European allies for more time.
— Additional input from Reuters