Pakistan seeks peace in Afghanistan as Taliban takeover: NSC

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan aspires for peace in Afghanistan, the National Security Committee (NSC) reiterated Monday, as the Taliban took over the war-torn country after a lighting sweep. The development came during the NSC meeting which was called to deliberate on the emerging situation in Afghanistan — with PM Imran Khan in the chair. The NSC meeting was attended by senior cabinet members and services chiefs. Participants were briefed on the latest developments in Afghanistan and their possible impact on Pakistan and the region. The overall security situation in the region was also discussed. The NSC noted that Pakistan was a victim of the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan and, therefore, desired peace and stability in the neighbourhood. It was emphasised that the world must recognise the sacrifices made by Pakistan over the last four decades. Participants reiterated that Pakistan remains committed to an inclusive political settlement as the way forward representing all Afghan ethnic groups. It was reaffirmed that Pakistan would continue to work with the international community and all Afghan stakeholders to facilitate an inclusive political settlement in the country. Moreover, the meeting stressed that the principle of non-interference in Afghanistan must be adhered to.The NSC noted positively that major violence had been averted thus far and called on all parties in Afghanistan to respect the rule of law, protect the fundamental human rights of all Afghans, and ensure that Afghan soil is not used by any terrorist organisation or group against any country. Prime Minister Imran Khan directed that all possible facilities be made available to repatriate Pakistanis, diplomats, journalists and staff of international organisations seeking to leave Afghanistan. The Prime Minister lauded the ongoing efforts of the Pakistan embassy in Kabul and the state machinery in this regard. The NSC reiterated Pakistan’s stance that the conflict in Afghanistan never had a military solution. The ideal time to end the conflict through negotiations might have been when the US/NATO troops were at maximum military strength in Afghanistan. Continuation of foreign military presence for a longer duration now would not have yielded a different outcome. Therefore, endorsement by the Biden administration of the previous US administration’s decision of troops withdrawal is indeed a logical conclusion to this conflict, the NSC said. It is now time for the international community to work together to ensure an inclusive political settlement for long-term peace, security and development of Afghanistan and the region.

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