Pakistan‘s civil and military leaders met on Monday in a hurriedly called session of the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC) to discuss the latest Afghan situation as the Taliban are on the cusp of returning to power after being ousted by the United States two decades ago.
The NSC meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by senior cabinet members and services chiefs, an official statement issued after the huddle said.
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 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. It was 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/group against any country.
PM Imran directed that all possible facilities be made available to repatriate Pakistanis, diplomats, journalists and staff of international organisations seeking to leave Afghanistan. He also 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, the communiqué read.
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, it added.
“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/ the region.”