ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said the international community must remain engaged with Afghanistan, asserting that Islamabad will continue to play a facilitative role to bring political settlement in the war-torn neighbouring country, which has been taken over by the Taliban in a sudden and unprecedented collapse of the government.
Taliban insurgents swept Kabul on Sunday after the US-backed Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing an unprecedented end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform the war-ravaged nation.
"Pakistan is very clear on our position: we believe that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward.
We do not wish to see continued cycle of civil war & want the people of Afghanistan to thrive, not simply survive," Qureshi tweeted after a meeting here with a political delegation of Afghanistan's leaders led by former vice president Muhammad Younas Qanooni.
Expressing hope that all Afghan leaders will work together in the supreme national interest of their country, he asserted that Pakistan will continue to play a constructive and facilitative role in Afghanistan.
"The international community must remain engaged with Afghanistan," Qureshi asserted, underlining that it is important that "we closely coordinate our next steps" for the benefit of Afghanistan and the region.
There is a clear international convergence in support of the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and it is critical for all world leaders to unite for an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement in the country, Qureshi said.
He said the meeting with the political delegation of Afghanistan's leaders led by Qanooni, all of whom have a vital stake in the country's future, took place at an extremely critical time.
"Our ultimate objective is a peaceful, united, democratic, stable & prosperous Afghanistan," he tweeted, sharing some photographs of the meeting.
During the meeting, Qureshi shared Pakistan's perspective on the latest situation in Afghanistan and highlighted that Islamabad considers "all segments of the Afghan society important in the final destiny of Afghanistan, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
He expressed hope that the Afghan leaders would take advantage of the international support for peace and reconciliation and work together to deal with the evolving situation in Afghanistan in the supreme national interest of the country and according to the aspiration of the people.
The foreign minister underlined that the region could not afford continued instability in Afghanistan which would negatively impact the objective of a peaceful and connected region, the statement said.
Qureshi asserted that the international community's continued engagement in the efforts for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan would be important as it was a shared responsibility.
Emphasising that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan was in Pakistan's interest, he reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue to play its constructive role to support a peaceful, united and prosperous Afghanistan.
The arrival of the Afghani delegation in Islamabad on Sunday coincided with President Ghani fleeing Afghanistan, extremely weakening the bargaining position of his supporters.
The Afghan delegation consists of leaders who were part of the different governments after the Taliban was toppled in 2001.
The delegation emphasised multi-ethnic nature of Afghan society and the importance of an inclusive political solution.
The delegation also underscored commitment to forge long-term relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and to expand the fraternal ties in all areas, the statement said.
Officials said the delegation will have more meetings during its stay in Pakistan till August 18.