Pakistan envoy says Biden decision on Afghanistan was ‘logical’

Slams denial again by India’s UNSC presidency to address meeting on Afghanistan

By: News Desk      Published: 09:25 AM, 17 Aug, 2021
Pakistan envoy says Biden decision on Afghanistan was ‘logical’
File photo.

Pakistan’s ambassador at the United Nations has said that US President Joe Biden’s endorsement of the previous American administrations’ decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan was “a logical conclusion to this conflict.”

Munir Akram told reporters at UN headquarters in New York on Monday night that the international community must now work together “to ensure an inclusive political settlement for a long-term peace, security and development of Afghanistan.” He said Pakistan’s stance “that the conflict in Afghanistan never had a military solution” has been confirmed.

The envoy said the best time to end the conflict through negotiations probably was when US and NATO troops were at maximum military strength in Afghanistan. Akram added that “therefore, endorsement by the Biden administration of the previous US administrations’ decision of troop withdrawal was indeed a logical conclusion to this conflict.”

Akram said leaders of a number of Afghan political parties and groups “representing all the multiethnic groups apart from the Pashtuns” are in Pakistan’s capital and met with the foreign minister and other leaders Monday. He said Pakistan will work with them and with Taliban representatives to advance the goal of an inclusive political government.

Munir Akram also denounced India, which as President of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), again blocked Pakistan from participating in the 15-member Council’s meeting on Afghanistan, saying Pakistan has a vital stake in peace and stability of the war-torn country where the Taliban have now taken control of the government.

“It is most regrettable that Pakistan’s request to participate in the Security Council meeting was once again blocked by the Indian Presidency,” Munir Akram told reporters after the conclusion of the council meeting, while also questioning the move to give the floor to the representative of Afghanistan’s defunct regime of Ashraf Ghani who has fled the country.

The Security Council, he said, has been denied an “important perspective and vital input that could be helpful in restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” he said, noting that Pakistan was also blocked from participating in the Council meeting on Afghanistan on August 6, as well.

“India’s partisan and obstructionist actions a manifestation of its hatred for Pakistan and its pique that its plan to continue the conflict in Afghanistan and thus continue to sponsor terrorism against Pakistan from Afghanistan’s territory is likely to be neutralized once peace is restored throughout Afghanistan.”

Pakistan, he said, was not surprised by India’s anti-Pakistan partisanship, saying, “This confirms Pakistan’s long-held contention that India does not deserve to be a member of the Security Council, much less to aspire for peaceful relationship of this body whose resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir it has defied and violated for decades and where its 900,000 occupation army is committing massacre and human rights violations with impunity.”

While blocking Pakistan and other neighbours of Afghanistan from addressing the Council, Ambassador Akram said there was “considerable pathos” in the move to invite the representative of a now ousted regime of Afghanistan to speak to the Council.

“Ambassador (Ghulam) Isaczai is an esteemed colleague; but the person who appointed him here recently, has fled Afghanistan to the calls of betrayal by some of his Ministers and Army Chief, the Pakistani envoy said.

“It is unclear, therefore, on whose behalf Ambassador Isaczai was speaking today,” he said, adding, “The assertions he advanced reflected the talking points of the ancient regime or his own personal views. They are not representative of the evolved realities in Afghanistan.”

If invited to speak, he said Pakistan would have told the Security Council of its continuing its efforts to ensure a peaceful settlement and formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Pointing out that a delegation of several important Afghan leaders, led by the Speaker of the Loya Jirga, have met in Islamabad with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other Pakistani officials, Ambassador Akram said, “They have agreed to engage with the Taliban to evolve an inclusive Afghan government.

“We will work with them and the Taliban representatives to advance this objective – which is an important question for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan, he said, would have also informed the Council of the efforts Islamabad was making to facilitate the safe evacuation of diplomats, representatives of international organizations and others from Afghanistan, noting that Pakistan’s foreign secretary had briefed the diplomatic corps in Islamabad today that the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul will continue to facilitate visas for diplomats and international personnel.

Wherever needed, the Pakistan envoy added, arrangements will be made for issuing visas on arrival and a Facilitation Centre has been set up to ensure the expeditious processing of visas to ensure smooth and timely evacuation from Kabul.

He told reporters that Pakistan had facilitated the evacuation of the Danish Embassy personnel, including its 421 Afghan employees.

Ambassador Akram said Pakistan has called on the Afghan Parties, including the Taliban to ensure the preservation of law and order in Kabul and elsewhere.

“Our immediate priority should be aimed at maintenance of law and order; ensuring the safety and security of all Afghan civilians, especially women and children,” he said, stressing that fundamental human rights must be upheld, especially the right to education for all civilian property and infrastructure must be protected.

“There must be complete respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. We support the statement of the (UN) Secretary General in this regard.

“The safety and security of the diplomatic community and premises, as well as United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers, and other international staff is paramount,” the Pakistani envoy added.

Pakistan also called for urgently addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan), he said, should make an evaluation of the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, and urged the UN Secretary-General to report as soon as possible on the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan.

“We call on all Afghan parties to ensure unhindered access to humanitarian aid across Afghanistan as well as to ensure the safety and security of the UN personnel and humanitarian workers.”

Apart from these immediate actions, Ambassador Akram said the international community should look ahead to other steps designed to promote durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“The infrastructure destroyed in this long conflict needs to be reconstructed; including the transport infrastructure which can enable Afghanistan to serve as a hub for regional trade and commerce,” he said.

“The international community also needs to engage with the new authorities in Afghanistan to eliminate the threat posed by the terrorist organizations which have used Afghanistan’s territory with the sponsorship of the intelligence agencies of certain countries, for attacks and sabotage against Afghanistan’s neighbours – ISIL-K (Daesh), TTP, JuA, RTIM, IMU,” Ambassador Akram said.

“Pakistan will work actively to realize this vital objective.”