“Afghanistan’s stability does influence the entire region,” Tarar said. “We want to partner with our allies to try and see that the situation in Afghanistan does not deteriorate and that people in Afghanistan have a bright future,” he added.
Asked whether the US believed that Pakistan supported the Taliban, he said, “We are watching the formation of the government in Afghanistan very closely.” US secretary of state Antony Blinken has co-led a virtual meeting of 22 foreign ministers in Germany, with officials from Nato, the European Union and the United Nations, he added.”Pakistan and India are part of that 22 nations’ delegation. No one country can improve outcomes in Afghanistan. We need to see in the coming days and weeks whether the Taliban keeps to its commitments.”
The US “has aligned interests on many issues with Pakistan,” he added. “We are looking to work with Pakistan on those issues — Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, Covid-19 and climate change.”
He said it was not just the US, but also the G7, UN Security Council, EU and Nato who will make clear that if the Taliban seek international legitimacy and recognition, they expect to see an inclusive government and for Afghanistan to maintain its same freedoms and gains from over the last 20 years.
Asked what leverage the US had over the Taliban, he said: “We will use the full range of tools at our disposal.”
Tarar reiterated that US President Joe Biden stood by his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and “has no regrets”. “The purpose was never nation building or to install a Western-style democracy. The purpose was to deliver justice for 9/11, which we have done.”
“India is one of our most critical partners in the world — whether we are talking about defeating Covid-19 or climate change,” Tarar said. “The Indian government supplies vaccines globally and without India’s assistance we could not ensure that vaccines reach Asia and Africa. The engagement is robust and ongoing,” he said.