Taliban recognition to go with regional consensus: Pakistan

-Information Minister says Pakistan does not intend to take a unilateral decision in this regard
-Sheikh Rasheed claims Taliban taken on board over TTP issue
-Says situation along Afghan border satisfactory, no refugees crisis so far
-Pakistan completed 97-98% of the fencing around Afghan border
-Pakistan tells Taliban its soil will not be used against Afghanistan, hopes for the same from Kabul

By Asghar Ali Mubarak

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday announced that any recognition of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan will be a “regional decision” taken after consultations with regional and international powers, as he stressed that Pakistan does not intend to take a “unilateral decision” in this regard.
The minister made these remarks during a press briefing held to apprise the media of decisions taken by the federal cabinet. Discussing the evolving situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s dramatic reclaiming of power in the war-torn country, Chaudhry said Pakistan was a responsible part of the international community and its decisions will not be unilateral. “We are in touch with our friends, both in this region and internationally, and we will decide accordingly,” he said. Chaudhry further said Prime Minister Imran Khan also had a detailed discussion with his Turkish counterpart a day ago on the Afghanistan situation, while the US secretary of state had spoken to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the same topic. Regarding the manner of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, he said: “We are pleased and satisfied that the change [of power] in Afghanistan neither caused any bloodshed nor triggered a war, which is satisfactory.”
He said Pakistan had advised Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on a number of occasions in the past that it would be unfeasible for him to run Afghanistan unilaterally. “How could you run the country when a major ethnicity living in that country is not a part of the government?” Chaudhry questioned. The minister recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his recent address in Bajaur, had suggested the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan that enjoyed the trust of all in the country.
Earlier in the day, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed said Tuesday that Pakistan has taken the Afghan Taliban on board over the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) issue, hoping that Afghanistan’s soil will not be used against Pakistan.The interior minister was responding to reports of the release of key TTP commanders from jails in Afghanistan, as the Taliban took over the country.Maulana Faqir Mohammad, the former deputy chief of the TTP, was also released as the Taliban took hold of the capital on Sunday.”The outlawed TTP and Daesh militants are present in the mountainous ranges of Nooristan and Nighar,” he said. “We have taken the Taliban on-board over the TTP issue and told them that Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used against Afghanistan and it hopes Afghanistan won’t allow its soil to be used against Pakistan.”
When pressed further, the minister said he couldn’t disclose to the media what Pakistan has discussed with the Taliban.”Previously, Pakistan was supporting the US due to which the TTP and the Taliban were on the same page. That is not the case now,” he noted.