PM Imran Khan stresses ‘sustained engagement’ with Afghanistan after troop withdrawal – Press Release

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  • PM Imran Khan meets German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
  • Situation in Afghanistan, Pak-German bilateral relations discussed.
  • Urgent steps needed to tackle Afghanistan’s problems, PM says.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday stressed a “sustained” engagement by the international community with Afghanistan following the completion of the US troops’ withdrawal from the war-torn country.

The premier’s comments came during his meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Prime Minister Office, where both leaders exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan-Germany bilateral relations, a statement said.

“The prime minister underscored that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was vitally important for Pakistan and the region,” the statement said.

The premier stressed at this pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history, it was important for the international community to stand in solidarity with the Afghan people and continue supporting them.

PM Imran Khan underlined that urgent steps were needed to stabilise the security situation, address humanitarian needs, and ensure economic stability in Afghanistan.

“These would require sustained engagement with Afghanistan,” he said.

The prime minister underscored that both Pakistan and Germany should work closely for the promotion of shared interests relating to regional peace and stability.

PM Imran Khan recalled his conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which the two leaders had a fruitful exchange of views on the Afghanistan situation.

FM Heiko Maas conveyed cordial greetings of Chancellor Merkel to PM Imran Khan, the statement said.

Sharing Berlin’s viewpoint on the evolving situation in Afghanistan, he thanked Pakistan for its support and facilitation of Germany’s evacuation endeavours in Afghanistan.

FM Maas also highlighted the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Pakistan-Germany diplomatic relations during 2021, the statement said.

“The two countries are holding a series of events to celebrate this milestone in a befitting manner,” the statement added.

Jubilation as troops withdraw

Earlier in the day, the Taliban celebrated their total return to power with gunfire and diplomacy, after the last US troops flew out of Afghanistan to end two decades of war.

The United States’ longest military conflict drew to a close on Monday night when its forces abandoned Kabul’s airport, where it had overseen a frenzied airlift that saw more than 123,000 people flee life under the Taliban.

Taliban fighters then quickly swept into the airport and fired weapons into the sky across the city in jubilation — an astonishing return after US forces invaded in 2001 and toppled them for supporting Al-Qaeda.

“Congratulations to Afghanistan […] this victory belongs to us all,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters hours later on the runway of the airport.

Mujahid said the Taliban’s victory was a “lesson for other invaders”.

Many Afghans are terrified of a repeat of the Taliban’s initial rule from 1996-2001, which was infamous for their treatment of girls and women, as well as a brutal justice system.

However the Taliban have repeatedly promised a more tolerant and open brand of rule compared with their first stint in power, and Mujahid continued that theme.

“We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all,” he said.

Mujahid also insisted Taliban security forces would “be gentle and nice”.

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