South Asia

Bilawal says Pakistan will not solely recognize the Taliban

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday said Pakistan will not take a solo decision to recognize the Taliban as a government in Afghanistan.

He stressed reviewing Pakistan’s counter-terrorism policy to prevent resurgence of militancy.

At a press conference, in response to a question if peace in Afghanistan meant countering the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), he said it is important to internally review the policy.

He mentioned that peace in Afghanistan is crucial for Pakistan region.

“When we came to power, we decided to engage with Afghan authorities regardless of our differences for greater national interest. We won’t take a solo flight on the matter of recognition of the Afghan government,” he said.

On closure of Chaman border, he said “terrorist attacks” on Pakistan’s security forces from the Afghan side led to closure of the border.

He asked the Taliban to take measures not to let their country’s soil used against its neighbor.

Bilawal said peace in Afghanistan was crucial for Pakistan and the region, and urged the international community to get engaged with the interim government of Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian crisis.

Pakistan was one of the few countries that recognized the Taliban regime back in late 1990s in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani foreign minister asked the Taliban to fulfill the pledges, especially related to human rights and women’s education in Afghanistan.

This comes as tensions are running high between border forces along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border after Islamabad shut its southwestern border crossing with Afghanistan for an “indefinite period” following a shooting incident on Sunday that left one Pakistani border force member dead.

The Chaman border – also known as Friendship Gate – connects Pakistan’s Balochistan province to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. The crossing was closed after a Taliban border guard from Afghanistan reportedly crossed into Pakistan and opened fire on security forces.

One Pakistani Frontier Corps member was killed and two others were wounded in the shooting.