- Title: Pakistan discussing expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan - ambassador
- Date: 27th September 2021
- Summary: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (SEPTEMBER 27, 2021) (REUTERS) PEOPLE STANDING OUTSIDE PAKISTAN EMBASSY IN KABUL PAKISTANI FLAG FLYING OVER EMBASSY / TALIBAN FLAG IN FOREGROUND KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (SEPTEMBER 27, 2021) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAKISTAN'S AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN, MANSOOR AHMAD KHAN, SAYING: "The issues of formal recognition will come later, you know, Pakistan is part of the international community. Pakistan is also engaged with Afghanistan's neighbours and other important regional countries. So I think this issue of formal recognition, I think, will come at a later stage. Our engagement with Afghanistan in the past few weeks and in the coming days and weeks is focused on humanitarian engagement and economic engagement and strengthening of our efforts, our contribution for strengthening peace and stability in Afghanistan." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAKISTAN'S AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN, MANSOOR AHMAD KHAN, SAYING: "Regional connectivity is an important element of our discussions with Afghan leadership and our way forward for our economic interaction with Afghanistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan have a 2,600 kilometre long border and this important project - China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, which is a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative - provides good opportunities, good potential for providing infrastructure and energy connectivity between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and not only just between Afghanistan and Pakistan but also connecting South Asia to the Central Asian region." KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (SEPTEMBER 27, 2021) (REUTERS) (MUTE) PEOPLE OUTSIDE PAKISTAN EMBASSY
- Embargoed: 11th October 2021 19:59
- Keywords: Afghanistan Ambassador CPEC China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Embassy Pakistan
- Location: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
- City: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWHUIX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: QUALITY AS INCOMING
Pakistan has discussed Taliban-led Afghanistan joining the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, the Pakistani ambassador to the country said on Monday (September 27).
"Regional connectivity is an important element of our discussion with Afghan leadership and our way forward for our economic interaction with Afghanistan," said Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan's envoy to Kabul, in an interview with Reuters.
CPEC is a central part of the Belt and Road Initiative, under which Beijing has pledged over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, much of it in the form of loans.
Khan said that discussions had been held with the Taliban-led administration on this and other ways to develop the country's economy.
In recent days representatives from Pakistan, China and Russia have held meetings with Taliban officials. Khan said security and economic development were the two main topics under discussion and that these countries expected to continue to consult as a group and meet with the Taliban going forward.
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on Aug. 15, the country has been plunged into economic crisis as the nation's international assistance has been largely cut off. Billions of dollars in central bank assets held abroad have also been frozen, which has put pressure on the banking system and prevented most transactions involving U.S. dollars.
Khan said that Pakistan was also trying to work with the international community to ease international restrictions on the banking system and several executives from Pakistani financial institutions with a presence in Afghanistan had visited Kabul in recent days to see if the situation could be improved should international limits end.
The United States and other Western nations are reluctant to provide the Taliban with funds until the Islamist militant movement provides assurances that it will uphold human rights, and in particular the rights of women.
Pakistan, which shares a border with Afghanistan and hosts millions of Afghan refugees from decades of conflict, is concerned about the economic crisis hitting its neighbour. Its prime minister, Imran Khan, and other officials have urged the international community not to isolate the Taliban administration, saying aid should be provided to prevent economic collapse and a wave of refugees.
Pakistan has had deep ties with the Taliban and has been accused of supporting the group as it battled the U.S.-backed government in Kabul for 20 years - charges denied by Islamabad.
However, Pakistan has not yet formally recognised the Taliban-led administration and Khan, the Pakistani ambassador, told Reuters that the issue of formal recognition would come at a later stage.
(Production: Salah Uddin, Sheree Sardar, Marissa Davison)
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