The Khaama Press News Agency conducted an inclusive interview with Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan Ambassador to Kabul on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at the Pakistan Embassy.
The main purpose of this interview was to gain the insight of Ambassador Ahmad Khan on the current political situation in Afghanistan, the massive challenges Afghan people are facing in different aspects including economy, security, unemployment, poverty, hunger, and more. The active engagement of Pakistan with the interim government of Afghanistan and ways to engage with the international community were discussed respectively.
In his remarks, Mansoo Ahmad Khan reiterated Pakistan’s active engagement and economic initiatives for Afghanistan in the coming years. “Pakistan remains a friendly and supportive neighbor having immense interest to help Afghanistan in boosting trade and regional connectivity, providing humanitarian assistance, offering scholarships, facilitating transportation of goods and the movement of civilians between the two countries,” said Mr. Khan.
He added, “Pakistan and Afghanistan transit relations and trade agreement are conducted based on Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Agreement (APTA), signed in 2010 between the countries. Although APTA has expired, Pakistan government allows Afghan exports to reach global markets as a good gesture and help Afghan traders sustain during these difficult times”.
He also pointed out that forming an inclusive government that represents all ethnic groups, minorities, women, and the youth is of paramount importance for the Afghan people and the future of Afghanistan. The inclusivity that has been emphasized by the regional countries, the international community, and the UN is a priority for Pakistan as well. Considering the fact that Afghanistan has been suffering from prolonged war and political conflict, dialogue and negotiations are the only viable option to lead the war-torn country towards economic prosperity and lasting peace.
Although Pakistan has not yet recognized the interim government of Afghanistan, it has been lobbying with the regional and international community to engage with the Taliban’s leadership and gradually recognize the new so-called caretaker government of Kabul.
Initiating economic programs which are significantly important for both countries was a major topic discussed in detail. Mr. Khan stated, that the resumption of TAPI mega project needs joint effort and balance cooperation from all member countries which is for the greater good of everyone. The project is vitally important for the future energy fulfillment of Pakistan and India and for establishing further trade agreements with the central Asian countries.
“Working for the peace process through political dialogue and negotiations is the most appropriate strategy considering the political change in Afghanistan. Achieving internal political agreement, engaging with the neighbors, and then having a regional and international community on board is the next priority. Pakistan is committed to working with major global powers including, Russia, China, U.S., and the European Union to bring a lasting peace in Afghanistan, which will benefit everyone, Pakistan in particular”, stated Mr. Khan.