It is premature to call a thaw in ties between the US and Pakistan but a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on Thursday on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly session has broken the ice. Since the inception of Joe Biden government in the White House back in January this year, the US government has been maintaining an uncanny silence or call it boycott towards Pakistan at the diplomatic level. The reason for the obvious diplomatic snub is Pakistan’s Afghan policy, with which the US has so many issues even though no one in the Biden government has objected to Islamabad’s policy publicly. The first meeting between the two high-profile officials of the two countries lasted almost an hour at the Palace Hotel in New York City. Though both sides did not issue any statement after the meeting, it is, however, obvious that Afghanistan remained a dominant issue in the meeting. Since the US troops pulled out of Afghanistan and the Taliban rule set in, Pakistan has been urging the international community not to abandon Afghanistan and work with the new Kabul government to avoid a civil war in the war-torn country so that peace gets a chance to rule in Kabul. One may like it or not, but Taliban are in power in the government and so far, no credible challenge is challenging their rule.
Pakistan has been stressing the Kabul regime to introduce an inclusive political settlement, which the Taliban leadership has rejected. In such circumstances, the international community should start talking to the hardliners of Afghanistan to engage them in meaningful dialogues and to avoid the humanitarian crisis which is imminent. The task would have become easier, had the US and other important countries with Pakistan worked together for a better future of Afghanistan. Similarly, the Taliban should be recognized as Afghanistan’s representative at the UN General Assembly session where the representatives of the previous Afghan government still occupy the seat. Since no country has so far recognized the Taliban government, the deadlock will persist. Afghanistan cannot afford such unnecessary delays. Since the previous government, led by Ashraf Ghani, has collapsed and the Taliban rule Kabul, the Afghan mission at the United Nations should be represented by them. Afghanistan is a serious matter, so the US should work closely with Pakistan to keep the country stable.