ISLAMABAD: International engagement could help prevent Afghanistan from turning into a "haven for terrorists," Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf said on Wednesday, warning that such organizations are already present on Afghan soil.
Pakistan has been repeatedly urging the international community to engage with Afghanistan's new rulers, the Taliban, who took control last month when US-led forces were completing their withdrawal.
Western countries have been reluctant to recognize Afghanistan's new government and cut their aid to the country that has been reliant on donations for the past two decades. The UN warned this week that with the aid halted Afghanistan is already on the verge of collapse.
Concerns are also rising that its further fall could lead to a security vacuum.
"You already know ISIS (Daesh) is present there, Pakistani Taliban are present there, Al-Qaeda is there," Yusuf said in a press briefing for foreign media outlets. “How do we ensure Afghanistan doesn’t become a haven for terrorists? Engagement will get to that answer.”
"If abandonment happens again, you don’t need to think too much to know what will happen,” he said. “There will be a security vacuum.”
Instead of adopting a "wait-and-see" approach, the world should expedite its efforts to deal with the challenges in Afghanistan, Yusuf added, as the militant groups were “sworn enemies” of Pakistan and the West.
He said engagement with the Taliban would not be a precedential as world leaders had already done it in Doha, Qatar where US-sponsored peace talks were taking place earlier this year in failed attempts to broker a power-sharing agreement between Afghanistan's previous government and the Taliban.
The US withdrawal after 20 years of military presence in Afghanistan was also based on a deal Washington signed with Taliban representatives in February 2020.
Yusuf said that Afghanistan's destabilization would immediately threaten neighboring Pakistan, but added that Pakistan alone can't provide legitimacy to the Taliban government.
"It's responsibility of the West to do it that remained there for two decades."