Saturday, July 31, 2021

Situation in Afghanistan deteriorating; all parties should agree to avert civil war: Pakistan

U.S. Marines in full gear prepare to leave the U.S. military compound at Kandahar International Airport for a mission to an undisclosed location, Afghanistan, Dec. 31, 2001. (AP Photo)

Islamabad, July 9: Pakistan on Friday cautioned against the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and urged all parties to agree on a power sharing formula to avert a looming civil war in the neighbouring country.

Addressing the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf expressed concern over the situation and hinted that Pakistan won’t be able to tackle the influx of more refugees in case the armed conflict intensified in neighbouring Afghanistan.
It is our effort and desire that the neighbouring country does not plunge into the civil war again, Qureshi said, adding that Pakistan wants that the dignified return of Afghan refugees be made part of the Afghan peace process.
He said Pakistan would not be able to tackle the influx of more refugees in case the armed conflict intensified.
His remarks came in the midst of Taliban militants seizing dozens of districts in recent weeks and are now thought to control about a third of the country, ahead of the complete withdrawal of US and Western troops from Afghanistan.
Qureshi said that an important conference would be held in Uzbekistan in the coming days over the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan would highlight that peace in Afghanistan was not solely its responsibility as all its neighbours should play their roles.
“The situation in Afghanistan is worsening and holding Pakistan responsible for this situation is not fair,” he said, adding that Iran has an important role regarding Afghanistan.
The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 after multiple rounds of negotiations to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.
Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops in return for a commitment by the militants that they would prevent extremist groups from operating in areas they control.
US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that American troops will be out of the country by August 31.
National Security Advisor Yusuf in his remarks said that the situation in Afghanistan was “extremely bad and out of Pakistan’s control”.
He said that post-US withdrawal Afghanistan could witness growing violence and civil war.
Yusuf further said that the Afghan government needed to work on improving relations with Pakistan because it needed Pakistan to provide a trade route to it.

He also warned about attack by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as its operatives would try to enter Pakistan as refugees.
Yusuf also asked the UN Refugee Agency to set up camps for Afghan refugees. (PTI)