Taliban must be given ample time to address international concerns: PICSS Seminar
Speakers during a one-day seminar organized by an Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) suggested that new Afghan government led by Taliban must be given ample time to address concerns of their neighbors and international community. Even American President asked for 100 days while the world is in a hurry to demand too much from the new government, the speakers said. The speakers include Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri, emphasized upon the need for peace and cordial relations with the new Afghan government, he further added that we need to be patient with the sufferers of the protracted refugee crisis who have lived as refugees for almost four decades now. He was preceded by the European Union High Commissioner to Pakistan Mrs. Androulla Kaminara. Mrs. Kaminara highlighted four aspects of the role of the European Union (EU) role in Afghanistan. She added that the European Union is emphasizing upon women rights, the freedom of media, free excess of humanitarian aids, inclusive government. She praised Pakistan government and the role played by it to help EU to work in Afghanistan. She threw light upon the humanitarian crisis that is prevalent in Afghanistan and emphasized peace and stability in Afghanistan is the main concern. She focused upon the role of neighboring countries, as the key players that need to participate and support to address the situation in Afghanistan. The European Union has invested 4 billion euros in development in Afghanistan. She further stated that the Afghanistan is included amongst the most food insecure countries, over 13 million people need humanitarian Aid. There is a food issue, there is 25% less wheat production and malnutrition is a bane as more than half of the Afghan children are malnourished. With the onset of the global pandemic covid 19 has tremendously effected the lives of people in Afghanistan. 90% plus population have not enough calories. Afghanistan suffers from an economic crisis as the money supply does not meet its demand. The lack of cash in the economy requires participatory governance and gender equality and participation in the government. She concluded that the EU responds to Afghanistan in all areas, political consideration, development, Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid as well as Relevant support to Pakistan.
The spokesperson of new Afghan government addressed the seminar via video link Mr. Zabiullah Mujahid stated that AFGHANISTAN holds historical ties with Pakistan we Afghans consider Pakistan a second home, as most of our refugee community is still being graciously hosted by Pakistan. He quoted” We may be separated by a long border but we share religion culture ethnicity and language the similarities alone have bonded Pakistan and Afghanistan at their very core. These similarities are proof that Pakistan and Afghanistan hold a strong sacred bond and this bond cannot be weakened but only strengthened on the foundations of truth, peace and virtue”.
The President PICSS Ambassador Abdul Basit (R) stated he expressed concerns regarding the political and social mandates of Afghanistan under new government and the relations with Pakistan; citing the transition as a big change that needed contemplation, as “Pakistan wants a peaceful Afghanistan for its own security and prosperity”. He stated that we need to press the new Afghan government to ensure (a) Inclusive government (b) Women Rights (c) not let any other actor to use Afghanistan land against regional and global countries. He further added that we have to accept the fact that Taliban are now ruling over Afghanistan and are no longer a resistance force, as they had been since the past two decades. Pakistan has been effectively working with all the governments that have ruled in Afghanistan. Chairman PICSS Major General Saad Khattak (R) highlighted the ongoing issues in Afghanistan after the collapse of Afghan forces and US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The initial session was chaired by Ambassador Abdul Basit (R) he expressed concerns regarding the political and social mandates of Afghanistan under new government and the relations with Pakistan; citing the transition as a big change that needed contemplation, as “Pakistan wants a peaceful Afghanistan for its own security and prosperity”. He stated that we need to press the new Afghan government to ensure (a) Inclusive government (b) Women Rights (c) not let any other actor to use Afghanistan land against regional and global countries. He further added that we have to accept the fact that Taliban are now ruling over Afghanistan and are no longer a resistance force, as they had been since the past two decades. Pakistan has been effectively working with all the governments that have ruled in Afghanistan.
The former Ambassador Ayaz Wazir, highlighted the role of regional countries and other major powers in the Afghanistan crisis, he remarked that it will take time to ensure an inclusive government. “We need patience while dealing with them (Taliban) as well as interaction”. He believes that the Taliban will be more flexible this time. Former Corps Commander Peshawar Lt. General Asif Yasin Malik (R), whilst highlighting the historical aspects of South Asia and the current scenario of Afghanistan also added that the world witnessed drastic scenes of people exiting Kabul airport on August 2021. He further elaborated that even America needed 100 days to settle down. However, the hypocrisy of the world is that they are not ready to give time to the Afghan Taliban to settle down. Vice Chairman Islamabad Policy Research Institute Ambassador Abrar Hussain, quoted the Doha agreement and said that hopes regarding Taliban government will help to lessen the restrictions upon them. He further highlighted the role of Pakistan for the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan.
The former Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Aziz Ahmad Khan at the session, Assistant Prof. Dr. Salma Malik, Dr Salma Malik she stated that defined actors (Taliban) remain defined and the blame game continues as the US wants to blame them for all the past upheavals since 20 years. She added that the women in Afghanistan need security, education and other basic facilities. Assistant Professor Farah Naz, ‘We cannot blame the Afghan Taliban for self-defense against the foreign powers, because it is not only the Afghan Taliban, but the entire Afghan population”. She further added that the social and political unrest and opium harvesting can only be blamed upon the United States. Ms. Amina Khan Director Afghanistan ISSI stated that the Afghan government cannot be blamed for bad governance, as it inherited a handicapped governance structure with a weak civil society framework, to develop which the Taliban government need at least six months. She further added that the new government needs to lay special emphasis upon the rights of women and children. Lastly, Mr. Abdullah Khan the Managing Director PICSS stated that there are all kind of militant groups present in Afghanistan including international, regional and country specific groups. Taliban have to address the issue of foreign militant on Afghan soil otherwise not only Afghanistan but Pakistan too will face pressure. A sustainable peace is only possible when security threats emanating from Afghanistan is addressed.