World must recognise and engage with new reality in Afghanistan, says Qureshi alongside Spanish FM

Statesman Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday that there was a new reality in Afghanistan, one the world needed to recognise and engage with.

The foreign minister made the comments while addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares after holding delegation-level talks.

“There is a new reality in Afghanistan. The world must recognise that new reality and engage with it. Weigh your options [and decide] what is the best way forward.

“In my view, the best way forward is international engagement as opposed to international isolation,” he said, adding that the latter will have undesirable consequences.

“It will not be helpful for Afghanistan, the region and eventually not be helpful for [the world],” the foreign minister said.

He stressed that a “new approach” needed to be adopted, adding that intimidation, pressure and coercion had not worked — a fact that must be accepted.

Qureshi said positive outcomes needed to be incentivised.

The foreign minister pointed to the resumption of the evacuation of foreigners on Thursday when a flight left Kabul for Doha and said that such developments were in line with the demands of the international community.

“Be positive and encourage [the Taliban] to stay on course,” he said.

Responding to a question regarding why the international community was unable to recognise the ground reality in Afghanistan, Qureshi said he had gathered from his interactions with colleagues that “people are not in a hurry and are watching and waiting”.

“There is recognition of a new reality and there is the awareness that engagement is required and that dialogue can be useful,” Qureshi said, adding that while the desire to engage was present, there was no “rush to recognise”.

‘Need to focus on humanitarian crisis’

The foreign minister stressed that immediate focus was needed on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. “We have to chip in,” he said.

Qureshi voiced appreciation for an upcoming conference in Geneva on how the international community could contribute in averting a humanitarian crisis and raising funds for Afghans.

He also mentioned Pakistan’s efforts in this regard, talking about the Pakistan Air Force aircraft which landed at Kabul airport on Thursday morning carrying relief goods.