Mere ‘coercion’ will not push Taliban to honor their pledge, says Pakistan’s foreign minister
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan’s foreign minister on Tuesday said that mere “coercion” will not work to force the Taliban to honor their pledge of not allowing Afghanistan’s soil to be used against any other country again.
“While we should expect the Taliban to honor their pledge and not allow terrorist groups to use Afghan territory to attack any other country again, we have to find more creative ways to elicit their cooperation on a sustainable basis,” Qureshi said at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
“Just coercion will not do,” he opined, urging the world to be vigilant against “regional spoilers who were opposed to the Afghan peace process and are clearly disappointed that Afghanistan seems to have averted a long and bloody civil war for now.”
Qureshi, who is New York to attend the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, insisted that an “inclusive end state” in Afghanistan remains the international community’s best counterterrorism investment. “We should continue to pursue it.”
Supporting the US and NATO pullout from the war-wracked country, he said: “The speed of the (Ashraf) Ghani regime’s collapse proved that President (Joe) Biden had made the right call,” as continuing the war in Afghanistan would not have changed the outcome.
Commenting on the ongoing debate “who lost Afghanistan?”, Qureshi opined: “The international coalition did achieve its mission in Afghanistan: Al Qaeda is a shadow of what it was on the morning of September 11, 2001, and the US mainland has not been attacked again. These are clear successes—successes that, let me repeat, were achieved with Pakistan’s cooperation.”
Pakistan and the US, he said, shared the same objectives in Afghanistan, “even if we did not always see eye to eye on how to achieve them.”
Pakistan should not be blamed for correctly diagnosing the limitations of trying to solve the political problem in Afghanistan through military means, he went on to argue.
About relations between Pakistan and India, he said his country remains committed to finding a peaceful solution to the lingering Jammu and Kashmir dispute, “which is the main obstacle to lasting peace and stability in the region.”
“It is up to India to break the impasse and create conditions for the resumption of meaningful dialogue with Pakistan,” he further said.
“We are not holding our breath. We do hope, though, that the international community would not sacrifice the principles of freedom and self-determination on the altar of political expediency and the exigencies of great power competition when it comes to helping the long-suffering people of Kashmir,” he added.