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Pakistan foreign minister warns against isolating Taliban

AT

Kabul: Pakistan’s foreign minister wants the world to engage with the Taliban, warning of dangerous consequences if Afghanistan’s rulers are again isolated.

In an interview with AFP news agency on Tuesday during a visit to Washington, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari cautioned against creating “parallel governance” after the United States, distrustful of the Taliban, put Afghanistan’s frozen assets in a professional fund in Switzerland.

“We have learned from the past that when we wash our hands and turn our backs, we end up creating unintended consequences and more problems for ourselves,” Bhutto Zardari said.

“I believe that our concerns of an economic collapse, of an exodus of refugees, of a threat of new recruits for (armed) organisations … outweigh concerns that there may be about their financial institutions.”

Afghanistan has been reeling from a humanitarian crisis with more than half of the population facing hunger, amid Western-imposed sanctions, as well as the freezing of humanitarian aid and nearly $10bn in Afghan central bank assets.

The United Nations has said it is increasingly concerned that restrictions on girls’ education, as well as other measures curtailing basic freedoms, would deepen Afghanistan’s economic crisis and lead to greater insecurity, poverty, and isolation.

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