Pakistan says time to recognise Taliban govt in Afghanistan hasn’t come yet

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (Right) at a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that time to recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan has not come yet.

He said this in an interview with a foreign newspaper ahead of a special session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) being hosted by Pakistan as part of its efforts to avert a looming economic meltdown and humanitarian catastrophe in the war-ravaged Afghanistan.

“This stage has not come yet. I do not think there is an international appetite for recognition at this stage,” Qureshi told Arab News in an exclusive interview. “The international community has several expectations,” he said.

These expectations include an inclusive government in Afghanistan and assurances surrounding human rights, especially for minorities, women and girls. The Taliban had strictly curtailed the roles of these segment of the society in Afghanistan when they ruled the country from 1996 until they were thrown out of power by the US and its Western allies through an invasion in 2001.

The Pakistani foreign minister said he had told the Taliban leaders that the international community expected them to deliver on four issues: “They want you to have an inclusive political landscape. They want you to respect human rights, particularly women’s rights. They want you do not allow space to international terrorist organisations, like Al-Qaeda and Daesh. And they want safe passage for people who want to leave.”

Qureshi’s statement at a time when Pakistan is hosting the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers may come as a blow to the Afghan Taliban, who have been arguing for months that the failure to recognise their government would prolong the financial and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The new Taliban administration in Kabul has been sanctioned by the international community since departure of the US troops and collapse of the Afghan Army in mid-August.

The fall of Kabul to the Taliban saw an abrupt end to the financial aid from the United States and other donors on which Afghanistan became dependent during 20 years of war.

The United States has frozen more than $9 billion of Afghanistan’s hard currency assets after the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

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