Imran Khan could not have been more specific about his frustration with Americans and underlined that Washington must "de-link" the Taliban government from the 40 million Afghan citizens. Pakistan does not want to speak about the challenges faced by the Taliban from ISIS-K.
New Delhi: Timing is also a diplomatic tool and an important message.
New Delhi hosted the India-Central Asia dialogue discussing various pros and cons of Afghanistan's situation and other regional importance issues on Dec 19. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan share a border with Afghanistan. Other nations that attended the meet were Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
"The 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue was held in New Delhi on Dec 19, 2021, under the chairmanship of the External Affairs Minister (Dr S Jaishankar). Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan took part in the meeting," the Joint Statement said.
In Islamabad, the tone was of apparent frustration and helplessness. By flagging humanitarian crisis challenges, the beleaguered Pak PM Imran Khan made a strong pitch for the newly installed Taliban regime in Kabul.
"If the world doesn't act, this will be the biggest man-made crisis which is unfolding in front of us," he said, sounding helpless.
In the New Delhi meet, the Foreign Ministers were clearly in a better situation and engaged in business-like talks. The Joint Statement said they discussed the "current situation" in Afghanistan and its impact on the region.
The Ministers, including Dr Jaishankar, reiterated strong support for a "peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan" while emphasizing respect for sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and non-interference in its internal affairs.
"The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021) which unequivocally demands that Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts and called for concerted action against all terrorist groups. The Ministers also agreed to continue close consultations on the situation in Afghanistan."
They also dwelt on issues that have always left Pakistan irked.
"They stressed that perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice under a principle of 'extradite or prosecute'. In this context, they called for early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism."
The Joint Statement said they called on the international community to strengthen UN-led global counter-terrorism cooperation and fully implement the relevant UNSC resolutions, Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and FATF standards.
Envoys from 57 Islamic nations and observer delegations participated at the OIC Summit. Imran Khan said no other country had suffered as much as Afghanistan, adding that even before the Taliban seized control, half of the population was below the poverty line. He said that 75 per cent of the country's budget was also supported by foreign aid. He noted that any country in a situation similar to that of Afghanistan would collapse. The OIC also had a "religious duty" to help the Afghans, and he played the ultimate Muslim card.
Afghanistan's history is replete with several wars. Experts say that the 'inexperienced' Taliban finds things challenging to handle vis-à-vis the ISIS-K threat with a weak economy. Lately, to cope with ISIS-K, the Taliban have deployed nearly 1,300 fighters to the eastern Afghan province of Nangahar, the supposed operational hub of ISIS-K. Moreover, ISIS-K's numbers and strengths are accelerating, posing a grave security threat to Afghanistan.
Imran said that Pakistan was currently housing over three million refugees, adding that the country was also providing shelter to more than 200,000 refugees who had overstayed their visas.
For its part, India is keeping a close watch. "We all also share deep-rooted historical and civilizational ties with Afghanistan. Our concerns and objectives in that country are similar: a truly inclusive and representative government, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking… We must find ways of helping the people of Afghanistan," Dr S Jaishankar told the visiting ministers.