We want cooperation, not pressure, Taliban’s foreign minister says

Islamabad, 12 Nov. (EFE).- Afghanistan’s interim foreign minister Amir Khan Mutaqi said on Friday that the Taliban regime was seeking cooperation from the international community to bring in the reforms it demanded, but insisted that “pressure tactics” in this regard would not work.

“The reforms the international community wants us to bring in, let us work towards it through cooperation not pressure. The pressure tactics did not yield any results over the past two decades and will not do so now,” Muttaqi said at a meeting at the Institute of Strategic Studies, an Islamabad-based think tank.

The Afghan top diplomat had arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday for his first-ever state visit, which coincided with a meeting of the Troika Plus group – consisting of China, Russia, the United States and Pakistan – to discuss the Afghan crisis on Thursday.

“Lessons have not been learned from the past,” said the minister, adding that the Taliban government does not want Afghanistan to become a ground for conflict between major powers and only joint efforts could result in stability.

Muttaqi claimed that the Islamist regime had fulfilled the prerequisites to be recognized by the international community, and rejected criticism over restrictions on women’s education and employment in the country.

“Currently 100 percent female health workers have returned to work in health sector and in the education sector up to 75 percent girls have returned,” he said.

The Taliban leader said they were looking forward to “close and trust-based” ties with Pakistan, which has urged the international community to back the regime in order to avert a humanitarian and political crisis.

“We must not be prisoners of the past due to the mistakes the (Afghan) governments had made in the past with Pakistan,” Muttaqi insisted, while pledging to not allowing Afghan soil to be used against any country.

On Thursday, the Troika Plus bloc had agreed to continue “practical engagement” with the Taliban while reiterating the demands such as an inclusive and representative government, equal rights for women and the elimination of all terror groups from Afghanistan.

Although Pakistan has not yet officially recognized the interim Taliban government, its foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had invited his Afghan counterpart for a three-day visit that ended on Friday.

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