Wednesday October 04, 2023

Afghanistan situation: Pakistan becomes pivot of diplomatic activity

The deputy PM of Qatar has acknowledged Pakistan’s important role as well as efforts for regional peace and stability

By Muhammad Anis & News Report
September 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has become a center of international diplomacy following the withdrawal of US and Nato troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover of the war-plagued country.

On Thursday, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Joseph Burns visited Islamabad to discuss the latest situation in Afghanistan besides other issues.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. During the meeting, views were exchanged on developments in Afghanistan and diversifying Pakistan-Qatar relations.

The prime minister conveyed warm regards to Amir of Qatar, a press release issued by the Prime Minister Media Wing said. Imran called upon the international community to stand in solidarity with the Afghan people, engage positively, and create incentives to ensure sustainable peace, stability and economic development in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan had and would continue to play its role for the economic uplift, humanitarian relief and assistance to Afghanistan. The prime minister lauded Qatar’s role in support of the Afghan peace process.

The deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar acknowledged Pakistan’s important role as well as efforts for regional peace and stability. He also underscored Qatar’s commitment to maintain close contact with Pakistan on bilateral and regional matters.

CIA Director William Joseph Burns called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and DG Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid. Matters of mutual interest, regional security situation and the current situation in Afghanistan came under discussion during the meeting, said an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) news release. It was reiterated that Pakistan remained committed to cooperating with its international partners for peace in the region and ensuring a stable and prosperous future for Afghan people.

The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan's role in the Afghan situation including successful evacuation operations, efforts for regional stability and pledged to play their role for further improvement in diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels. According to a report of The Washington Post, the CIA director also visited Kabul in fourth week of the last month. He held a secret meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the face-to-face encounter between Taliban and Biden administration after Taliban took control of the Afghanistan capital.

The report said President Biden had dispatched the CIA director who was also a veteran of the foreign services amid a frantic effort to evacuate people from Kabul.

“The CIA top official visited Kabul to discuss sensitive diplomacy,” the report said. Earlier, this month, ISI chief Lt. Gen Faiz Hameed also visited Kabul to meet Afghan leader and discuss security and border issues.

Richard Moore, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, UK called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on 27th of this month. According to the ISPR, during the meeting, matters of mutual and professional interests, intelligence/defence collaboration between both countries and overall regional security, with special emphasis on post-US withdrawal in Afghanistan came under discussion. The COAS said Pakistan was helping to achieve peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan and was willing to do whatever possible to help Afghanistan achieve an inclusive settlement.

Meanwhile, some 200 foreigners, including Americans, flew out of Kabul on Thursday, the first such large-scale departure since US and other forces completed their frantic withdrawal over a week ago, reports the international media.

The Qatar Airways flight to Doha marked a breakthrough in the bumpy coordination between the US and Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers. A senior US official provided the number of Westerners on the Qatar flight and said two senior Taliban officials helped facilitate the departure — the new foreign minister and deputy prime minister. Americans, US green card holders and other nationalities, including Germans, Hungarians and Canadians, were aboard, the official said.

Qatari envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani said another 200 passengers will leave Afghanistan on Friday. Meanwhile, Pakistan Thursday provided 30 ton food ingredients and medicines to Afghanistan.

The aid, including flour wheat, cooking oil, and medicines, were handed over to the Taliban officials at the Kabul International Airport by the Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan. A statement released by Pakistani embassy based in Kabul said other tranches of relief assistance will soon be delivered to Kandahar, Herat, and Khost.

Earlier, China announced emergency aid of over 31 million dollars and 3 million doses of corona vaccine for Afghanistan. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pledged that his country was willing to provide Afghanistan with Yun 200 million ($30, 96 million) worth of emergency aid and three million doses of corona vaccine. The aid, which was announced in Afghanistan’s neighboring countries’ conference on Wednesday, also includes food and medicines.