The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares , assured this Friday during his visit to Islamabad that Spain’s intention is to provide humanitarian assistance and evacuate its collaborators in Afghanistan , and not to impose conditions on the Taliban on their regime.
“Once again, the objective of the Spanish Government, and that is the spirit in which I have come here, is to give stability to Afghanistan , to ensure that the population receives humanitarian aid if they need it, and to ensure respect for human rights, “the minister said in a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart.
Another of the key aspects of the visit, said Albares, is to find a way to evacuate from Afghanistan the Afghans who collaborated with Spain during their presence in the country, after they could not do so via air from Kabul, and that is why Pakistan is fundamental for a possible exit by land through its border.
Recognition of the Taliban
In reference to the pressure of the international community on the Taliban regime, after its resounding victory almost a month ago, the Spanish minister assured that at this time Spain is not seeking to impose conditions and its intervention is focused on providing humanitarian support .
“I do not think we can talk about imposing conditions, we are not imposing conditions, nobody has done it,” said the diplomat, who assured that what they are asking for is freedom of movement for those who have collaborated with Spain and want to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarian assistance , and guarantee security conditions.
It is about ” establishing a framework for contact and being able to work to provide humanitarian assistance and remove our collaborators” from the country, Albares remarked.
Pakistani Foreign Minister: “There is a new reality in Afghanistan. The world must recognize it”
In this same context, and without directly referring to the position on the recognition of the Taliban set by Spain , the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, indicated that with the victory of the fundamentalists, the reality has changed, and “the world you must acknowledge it . ”
“There is a new reality in Afghanistan. The world must recognize that new reality and, in our opinion, engage with that new reality,” he said. For Pakistan, which has maintained a position of historical influence over the Taliban, “the best way forward is international engagement as opposed to international isolation.”
” Isolation will have consequences that we do not want . This will not help Afghanistan. It will not help the region or you (Spain). We have to adopt a new approach,” he said in front of a score of journalists.
Albares insisted on the importance for Spain of guaranteeing human rights, not only in Afghanistan, but throughout the region. “Human rights and women’s rights are important in all regions of the world. At this very moment there is concern about the situation of women and the human rights and freedom of movement of those who have collaborated with us in Afghanistan,” said.
His comment was made after being asked about Spain’s position on allegations of human rights violations and freedom of movement in Indian Kashmir, a region that Pakistan claims, and for which it has asked for international support. On this visit, the situation of the Afghan collaborators is a concern, and for this reason it has been one of the topics of discussion, “but for us human rights is not something divisible, it extends throughout the world,” he said.
This is the first visit of a Spanish Foreign Minister to Pakistan after 70 years of relations and it takes place two weeks after Spain completed the evacuation of more than 2,200 people between Spaniards and Afghans from the Kabul airport, in their flight from the Taliban after taking control of the country. Albares also met with the head of the Army this morning, according to what a Pakistani diplomatic official revealed to Efe, and plans to meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Objective: find new ways to evacuate
Albares arrived this Friday in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan , to maintain contacts with the Government of this neighboring country of Afghanistan and seek ways to evacuate more Afghan collaborators who could not be repatriated from Kabul.
In a trip not previously announced by Foreign Affairs, Albares aims to “demonstrate in practice and on the ground the efforts to achieve the goal of leaving no one behind .”
During the day, he will meet with the Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khansu, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshí, and with the Chief of Defense Staff. With all of them he will discuss how to “open new avenues of collaboration” for the evacuation of Afghans who have cooperated with Spain and who remain in Afghanistan.
“My presence here is further proof of Spain’s commitment to the Afghan people and to our collaborators . I will try to find safe ways for our Afghan collaborators to leave with the aim of leaving no one behind,” says Albares in a video recorded upon arrival in Islamabad and distributed by Foreign.
According to the head of Spanish diplomacy, his intention is to convey to his Pakistani interlocutors “the confidence that Afghan collaborators who cross the border will be attended to quickly ” by the Spanish embassy in Islamabad and “will not contribute to increasing migratory pressure in this country. “.
Preferential land route
Pakistan, which has more than 2,600 kilometers of border with Afghanistan , is the preferred land route for more Afghans to leave. Since the Taliban seized power, the Pakistani authorities have stepped up control of their border to prevent the arrival of more refugees, except those with a visa.
Islamabad has had a good relationship with the Taliban since the US occupation of Afghanistan in late 2001, which is why it is seen as a key player in dialogue with radical Islamists. The United States has also accused him of supporting the insurgents with weapons to regain control of Afghanistan, although Pakistan has denied it.
Albares’s trip takes place two weeks after Spain completed the evacuation of 2,206 people among Spaniards and, above all, Afghans from the Kabul airport as they fled the Taliban after taking control of the country. It is the first visit of a Spanish foreign minister to Pakistan after 70 years of diplomatic relations.
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