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Int'l community 'must step up efforts': Pakistan envoy stresses need for humanitarian support to Afghanistan

Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov speaks with a representative of the Taliban delegation Shahabuddin Dilawar before the beginning of talks on Afghanistan in Moscow on Wednesday. — Reuters

Pakistan's Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq emphasised on Wednesday the need for extending humanitarian support to Afghanistan, saying that the international community "must step up efforts" for the purpose, according to a statement issued by the envoy after the third session of the Moscow talks on Afghanistan.

"After all these years, the people of Afghanistan need and deserve peace, progress and prosperity. And the international community must generously help them to walk on that path," the statement quoted him as saying at the meeting.

Ambassador Sadiq conveyed to the other participants of the meeting, including a Taliban delegation, that peace in Afghanistan would benefit the entire region in terms of stability, secure borders, enhanced connectivity, return of refugees and countering terrorism, the statement said.

It added that the envoy emphasised that continuing aid and economic assistance to Afghanistan was important to avert a humanitarian and financial crisis in the war-torn country.

He reiterated Pakistan’s firm belief that peace went hand in hand with prosperity and economic stability and highlighted that "Pakistan's constructive role in [the] Afghan peace process is well-recognised and acknowledged by the international community."

The ambassador thanked Russia for hosting the third round of the talks, which was attended by China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and a high-level Afghan delegation, according to the statement.

Taliban meet Indian official

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said the Taliban delegation had met the special representative of India for Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan on the sidelines of the Moscow talks.

"The delegation of the Islamic Emirate met with the Special Representative of India for Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan," he tweeted in Pashto.

It was the first meeting between the Taliban and an official from the Indian government after they seized power in Kabul.

'Taliban must live up to international expectations for recognition'

Earlier, the Kremlin's representative on Afghanistan said the Taliban must live up to international “expectations” on human rights if they want to be recognised by governments around the world.

Kremlin envoy Zamir Kabulov said the new regime would be recognised when they “start fulfilling the expectations of the international community on human rights and inclusion”, Kabulov said.

The Kremlin's envoy to Afghanistan said the Taliban gave participants of the negotiations in Moscow, including China and Pakistan, assurances the group was making headway on rights and governance issues.

Taliban representatives told Kabulov they “are working on improving governance and improving human rights”, he told reporters. “We'll see,” Kabulov said.

He also called on the international community to abandon its “bias” and unite to help the Afghan people.

“Not everyone likes the new government in Afghanistan, but by punishing the government, we punish the whole people,” he said.

He said that a joint statement from all 10 participating countries concluding the talks would call on the United Nations to convene a donor conference to raise funds for Afghanistan.

Taliban representatives did not immediately address reporters following Kabulov's comments to journalists.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, a senior figure in the new Afghan leadership, however, said earlier on Wednesday that Afghanistan's new leadership was “already inclusive”.

“We don't need foreign military aid, we need support for peace in Afghanistan, we need reconstruction and resettlement,” Hanafi said.