- Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
The future appears uncertain for Afghanistan following its takeover by the Taliban as US-led forces withdrew from the country after 20 years of occupation. As other nations continue to evacuate their citizens, the Central Asian country has been struck by political and humanitarian crises.

Pakistan Calls for ‘Discarding Old Lenses’ in Afghanistan as Taliban’s New Cabinet Draws Flak

© AP Photo / B.K. BangashPakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to reporters at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, March 1, 2020
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to reporters at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, March 1, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.09.2021
The US State Department has reportedly expressed concern over the make-up of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Russia has also indicated that it is in no hurry to recognise the Islamist movement.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday called for “discarding old lenses, developing new insights” and proceeding with a pragmatic approach in dealing with the new developments in Afghanistan.
He said this while participating in a virtual meeting of his counterparts from China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Calling for an early return to “normalcy” in Afghanistan, he said that the key priorities at the moment were to “prevent a humanitarian crisis that can exacerbate the sufferings of Afghans”, and preventing an “economic meltdown”.
"If a humanitarian crisis is prevented and economic stability is assured, then peace can be consolidated and a mass exodus precluded", Minister Qureshi said.
Nearly $9 billion worth of Afghanistan’s assets, lying in US-based financial institutions including at the New York-based Federal Reserve Bank, were frozen in the wake of the fall of Kabul to Taliban militants on 15 August.
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division patrol Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 17, 2021. Picture taken August 17, 2021.  U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Taylor Crul/Handout via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY./File Photo/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.08.2021
China, Iran Step in to Aid Afghanistan as US Freezes Kabul's Foreign Assets After Taliban Takeover
The top Pakistani diplomat also urged for “enhanced” international engagement in Afghanistan, reasoning that a "renewed diplomatic and international presence in the country would reassure the Afghan people”.
He said that the security situation in Afghanistan has attracted the “global spotlight” and its implications could be felt across the world, not just in Afghanistan and the region.
At present, Pakistan, China, and Russia are among the few nations that still maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, with many other foreign diplomats leaving the country after the eruption of violence against the backdrop of the US' troop withdrawal from the Central Asian nation.
The Taliban has called for a return of diplomats to Afghanistan and maintained that it desires friendly relations with other governments.
The Pakistani minister also noted in his address that Islamabad had “agreed to have closer communication” with China to deal with the situation in Afghanistan, as he recalled his conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month.
He said that a “coordinated approach” of neighbouring countries is needed in several areas, “including [the] security situation along the borders, prevention of Afghan soil from being used by terrorist entities, possibility of fresh influx of refugees and containing drug trafficking and transnational crimes”.
While Qureshi stopped short of announcing direct support for the newly unveiled 33-member Taliban Cabinet, the remarks signify the support of Islamabad for the new government in Afghanistan. Otherwise, the new regime has drawn global flak for having at least six ministers sanctioned by the United Nations for their alleged terrorist ties.
A mobile hawker carries Taliban flags as commuters make their way along a road in Kabul on September 5, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
What Do We Know About New Taliban-Appointed Key Acting Gov't Members in Afghanistan?
The newly-appointed interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani heads the US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) Haqqani Network and has a $10 million bounty on his head.

‘Categorisation of Taliban and the Haqqanis as Terrorists is an Old Story’

Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told Sputnik that “the categorisation of [the] Taliban and the Haqqanis as terrorists is an old story and will have to change”.

“They are a reality with quasi-legitimacy in terms of foreign engagements”, states Bashir.

He argued that more than lending legitimacy to the Taliban, global powers must work towards ensuring peace and stability in the region.

“It will require time and skills to restore normalcy”, Bashir reckoned.

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