KATHMANDU;- Several world leaders on Friday, the fourth day of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) high-level week, reflected on the failure of the United States and other Western countries in Afghanistan.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the failure in Afghanistan shows military strength alone does not work.
“Military strength without the will to forge understanding, without the courage to engage in diplomacy, does not make the world more peaceful,” he told the General Debate of the 76th session of the UNGA. “We need strength at the negotiating table just as we need strength in defense.”
Describing the fall of Kabul as a turning point in Afghanistan, he said: “We achieved our goal of defeating those who wrought horrendous terror on this city (of New York) 20 years ago. But despite immense endeavor and investment, we were not able in two decades to establish a self-sustaining political order in Afghanistan. My country also shares responsibility. And we have an ongoing responsibility, particularly toward the many Afghans who had hoped for a more peaceful, free and democratic future.”
Warning against pride of the West, Steinmeier said: “We need to be smarter in selecting our instruments and setting our priorities. German and European foreign policy must not restrict itself to being right and condemning others. What we need to do is extend our toolbox — diplomatic, military, civilian, humanitarian.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a pre-recorded speech, said the international community should think about what is the way ahead in Afghanistan after the Taliban retook power.
“If we neglect Afghanistan right now, according to the UN, half the people of Afghanistan are already vulnerable, and by next year almost 90 percent of the people in Afghanistan will go below the poverty line. There is a huge humanitarian crisis looming ahead,” Khan said.
This will have serious repercussions not only for the neighbors of Afghanistan but everywhere across the world. A destabilized, chaotic Afghanistan will again become a safe haven for international terrorists — the reason why the United States came to Afghanistan in the first place, he said, adding “we must strengthen and stabilize the current government, for the sake of the people of Afghanistan.”
The Taliban have promised that they will respect human rights and have an inclusive government, and will not allow their soil to be used by terrorists. And they have given amnesty, he noted.
“If the world can incentivize them to go this direction, then this 20-year presence of the coalition forces in Afghanistan would not be wasted after all, because the Afghan soil would not be used by the international terrorists,” Khan said.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said, “It is imperative to ensure that humanitarian aid organizations can safely deliver assistance and that human rights, especially those of women, are protected.”
“We will carefully monitor the actions, not words, of the Taliban, to see whether or not they will honor the commitments they have publicly announced. We will also work closely with relevant countries and organizations to that end,” he said in a pre-recorded speech to the UNGA.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the current situation in Afghanistan is disturbing for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan, for the women and children, and for the international community.
“We need a strong and coordinated response. The contribution at the international donor conference last week was an important step,” she said.
Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah also expressed concern over the situation in Afghanistan.
He called on the Taliban movement and all relevant parties to exercise utmost self-restraint in order to prevent bloodshed, provide full protection to civilians, adhere to international obligations and international law, and to preserve the security and stability of the country, as well as the gains of the Afghan people in the past two decades.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said: “We envision a peaceful, stable, and prosperous South Asia. We firmly believe that it is upon the people of Afghanistan to rebuild their country and decide the course of the future themselves. Bangladesh stands ready to continue to work with the people of Afghanistan and the international community for its socio-economic development.”
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