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Afghanistan could plunge into civil war if West fails to ‘engage’ with Taliban: FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday while criticising the West s exit strategy warned that Afghanistan could plunge into another civil war if the West fails to “engage” with the Taliban.

In an exclusive interview to Sky News on Wednesday, he warned that the “consequences of abandonment” are dangerous. “It could lead to a civil war,” he said. “Things could become chaotic, there could be anarchy, and that will give space to the organisations we all dread: the international terrorist organisation that we do not want their footprint to grow in Afghanistan.”

FM Qureshi warned of potential “anarchy” and a resurgent threat of terrorism and said there was a failure to listen to Pakistan s concerns about ending the war in Afghanistan and as a result the withdrawal was not “responsible or orderly”.

The foreign minister said that the West should now test the new Taliban government to ensure it keeps its promises. He said that if the West did not maintain dialogue with the Taliban, Afghanistan could fall victim to another civil war and a new wave of terrorism could spread in the region.

“They should have learned from their mistakes,” he said. “And I think the attitude and the approach they are taking is reflective of a different approach.”

“What I m saying is test them before trusting them. They re big statements but let s see if they live up to them and if they do, then build on it because the other option is far worse.

Qureshi went on to say that the initial statements made by the Taliban leadership were positive and encouraging. He hoped that the Taliban would work to establish an inclusive government in the multi-ethnic state.

He said: “One option is engagement as opposed to isolation, you know we ve withdrawn, let s wash our hands, we ve done our bit, we leave. “That s a dangerous option. That s an option of abandonment of Afghan people. “That s the mistake that was committed in the 90s. I would urge the international community not to repeat the same mistake again.”

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