Russian president, Pakistani premier discuss Afghanistan

In phone call with Vladimir Putin, Imran Khan stresses need for inclusive political settlement in war-torn country

MOSCOW/KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone Wednesday with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the latest developments in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have taken control.

Khan stressed the need for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan, which is only possible through an inclusive political settlement in the war-torn country, according to a statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.

Terming a peaceful Afghanistan vitally important for both Pakistan and regional stability, Khan said the international community must stay positively engaged in support of the people of Afghanistan to help address humanitarian needs and ensure economic sustenance.

He also underscored the importance of coordinated approaches in addressing the evolving situation, noting that Pakistan attached high importance to the role of the Troika Plus format involving Russia, the US, China and Pakistan.

The Taliban took control of the Afghan capital Kabul on Aug. 15, with President Ashraf Ghani and other top officials leaving the country. The group is now in consultations with other Afghan leaders to form a government.

The swift takeover triggered an exodus from the country, with thousands trying to leave from Hamid Karzai International Airport – the only area of the country still under US control – with an Aug. 31 deadline looming for evacuations to finish.

US President Joe Biden has said that he aims to complete the pullout of American troops by the end of the month.

The Pakistani premier also expressed satisfaction over the “upward” trajectory of Pakistan-Russia relations.

The two leaders also agreed to closely cooperate within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to promote regional peace and security.

Kremlin statement

The Kremlin also released a statement on the phone call between the two leaders.

“While discussing the situation in Afghanistan, both sides stressed the importance of maintaining peace and security in the country, preventing violence and establishing an inter-Afghan dialogue that would facilitate the formation of an inclusive government that takes into account the interests of all segments of the population,” the statement said.

“It was agreed to coordinate approaches to the Afghan issue both in bilateral and multilateral formats.”

The SCO should use its capabilities “in ensuring regional stability and the fight against terrorism and the drug threat,” it said.

“The parties touched on several topics on the bilateral agenda, including the development of trade and economic ties and the implementation of joint projects in the energy and humanitarian spheres.

“Russian-Pakistani contacts at various levels will be intensified,” it added.

The unexpected power grab by the Taliban by taking control of the nation’s capital, Kabul, has triggered a rush to flee Afghanistan as many fear retribution.

The Taliban — who are now in command of the government in Kabul — announced that they had declared an “amnesty” for everyone in Afghanistan and called on citizens to return to work.


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