Pakistan vows to strengthen ties with Taliban govt in Afghanistan
By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD (AA): Pakistan assured Afghanistan’s Taliban government Thursday that it would strengthen bilateral ties with Kabul in all areas, including trade and economic sectors.
During his meeting with acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said his country will continue efforts to help Afghanistan resolve its humanitarian crisis.
Speaking about his country’s commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan, Qureshi said Pakistan will continue its efforts to facilitate humanitarian assistance and economic support to the country amid the difficult circumstances faced by its people, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to strengthen bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all areas [and] emphasized that peace in Afghanistan would help strengthen regional stability and spur economic activity and connectivity,” it said.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s acting minister for industry, commerce and finance and deputy minister for aviation, who were part of Muttaqi’s delegation, also held a joint meeting with their Pakistani counterparts.
Islamabad also offered technical assistance in various areas to the new Afghan government. The two sides also agreed to continue discussions to enhance cooperation in all sectors.
Muttaqi thanked Pakistan for its continued support and for working for peace and stability in his country.
He also thanked Islamabad for hosting millions of Afghan refugees over the past four decades and assured of extending full cooperation and strengthening fraternal cooperative ties with Pakistan, the statement said.
Muttaqi, who arrived in Islamabad on his first visit along with a high-level delegation Wednesday, also met with officials from China, Russia, Pakistan and the US special representative for Afghanistan on the sidelines of the Troika Plus meeting held Thursday in Islamabad.
According to Afghanistan Tolo News, Qureshi suggested that the Troika plus “engagement” with the incumbent Afghan government would pave the ground for peace and stability as well as “sustainable economic development.”
The Pakistani foreign minister also called for the release of Afghanistan’s bank assets.
“With international funding drying up, it has become difficult to pay even salaries, let alone pursue development projects,” he added. “The common man is reeling under the effects of a severe drought. Any further downward slide will severely limit the new administration’s capacity to run the government” in Afghanistan.
According to Qureshi, the next round of the Troika Plus conference would be held in Beijing, where the delegation of the Islamic Emirate would also be invited.
[Photo: Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. Photographer: Sefa Karacan/AA]
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