Pakistan’s Bhutto Zardari discusses Afghanistan situation with Taliban’s Muttaqi

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, held a telephone conversation with the Taliban’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Saturday to discuss matters of mutual interest.

According to a statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday, Bhutto discussed a range of issues of mutual interest and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan.

The conversation comes a day after the 4th Ministerial Meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries was held in Samarkand in Uzbekistan, where Pakistan’s State Minister for Foreign Affair Hina Rabbani Khar urged the international community to engage with the Taliban’s caretaker government.

In her speech, Rabbani said that a “constructive engagement” with the Taliban is crucial and that Islamabad cannot afford to “disengage” with Afghanistan.

“We cannot talk of the Afghan people without talking to them. Constructive engagement with the Interim Afghan Government remains imperative. As friends and neighbors, we don’t have the luxury to disengage with Afghanistan,” she said.

Rabbani said that Afghanistan faces multiple challenges – including humanitarian, economic, and migration crises as well as looming terrorism threats.

Highlighting the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Rabbani stated that “humanitarian support should remain delinked from any political considerations.”

“The common Afghan people should not be made victims of political choices made by others. Continued and sustained humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan must, therefore, be ensured. The international community should also remain cognizant of the pressing needs of the neighboring countries, hosting millions of Afghan refugees. This is a collective responsibility of the international community; it should be borne collectively,” she added.

Rabbani, meanwhile, stated that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of regional countries, calling for the “unity of purpose and a synergy of effort within the region remains imperative.”

“Continued conflict and instability threaten not only Afghanistan and its people but carry adverse implications for the region and beyond. Therefore, we, Afghanistan’s neighbors, all have a vested interest and stake in seeing peace and stability return to Afghanistan,” she said.