National Security Adviser Moeed Yousaf warned the world against abandoning Afghanistan again on Monday, and urged the global community to engage with the new setup for the sake of ordinary Afghans.
“We are saying to the world engage with Afghanistan for the sake of the average Afghan in your selfish national interest… Not as a favour to Afghanistan or anybody,” Moeed said while addressing a presentation session on the Afghanistan conflict.
He said that from Pakistan’s perspective the “world has a simple choice: go back to the 90s, make the same mistake again and get the same result… don’t expect a different result from the same policy”.
According to Moeed, it was time for the global community to learn from the “collective mistakes” for the sake of Afghanistan’s future and regional stability.
He stated that in the 1990s, after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan, the US turned on Pakistan and imposed sanctions on the country. Pakistan went from being an ally to a former ally and then a sanctioned country, he said alluding to the Pressler Amendment that barred military and economic assistance to Pakistan.
Moeed said the US president, George Bush, formally acknowledged that a mistake was made by abandoning Pakistan and Afghanistan because it left a security vacuum filled by al-Qaeda and other militant groups.
The NSA said that Afghanistan spiralled into total chaos as he referred to the presence of global terror outfits in the country due to the security vacuum. He said the average Afghans and Pakistanis were “betrayed” by the US and the western world.
According to Moeed, the policymakers in Washington agreed that the US made a “huge mistake by breaking ties with the Pakistani military” as by doing so, the US and the west lost contact with the situation on the ground.
Due to the West’s actions, the US and the west went from being the “leading patron to an untrusted, selfish foreign power”, Moeed said quoting people on the ground.
After the US invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan overnight became the most important ally of the US. The US president at the time said that the US will “never abandon Pakistan again”. Pakistan sacrificed thousands of lives in the war on terror led by the US, he said, adding that fingers were still being pointed at Pakistan despite all its help.
‘Learn from mistakes’
In 2002, Joe Biden admitted that the US abandoned Afghanistan that led to the disintegration of the country, whereas Hilary Clinton said that the US will “stand with Afghanistan always”, Mooed said.
He added that the average Afghans are asking whether the US and its allies will stand by the 40 million population instead of the few fortunate ones who helped the US and NATO missions and were being evacuated.
Pakistan is hoping for an inclusive government in Afghanistan for the sake of ordinary Afghans, the NSA said, adding that it would bring stability to the country.
He said the international community should assist Afghanistan in economic and governance matters to avoid the collapse of the state. “We are not going on our own… let’s come up with a way to figure out what the right terms for the recognition are,” he added.
“Please don’t miss the opportunity that the Taliban have basically made the right statement so far. They are actually trying very hard to signal to everybody that they want legitimacy. So that may be a window of opportunity to engage with… result [of this engagement] I don’t know… but that is a window of opportunity,” Moeed stressed, urging the world to engage with the Taliban.
He said the world can intervene to stop the displacement of Afghan refugees, adding that a refugee crisis can be prevented.
According to the NSA, the world can influence an inclusive government in Afghanistan, ensure basic human rights are being met and avert a humanitarian crisis by engaging with Afghanistan.
“If we abandon Afghanistan again, there will be a security vacuum and there will be international terrorists who will find space there,” he said. He cautioned that if the economy collapses in the absence of international assistance, there will be another conflict leading to another humanitarian crisis.