Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan is important for the implementation of regional economic and transit projects.
He made the remarks at the 25th summit of foreign ministers at the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Ashgabat.
“The full operationalization of the transit corridors through Afghanistan will be critical for the transit trade of all ECO members, especially its 5 landlocked states. Restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan is vital for this purpose,” he said. “We must all provide humanitarian and economic assistance to Afghanistan and its people to prevent massive human sufferings and economic collapse.”
“We must encourage the new authorities in Kabul to promote inclusive governance, respect for human rights, including women’s rights, and action against terrorism, to fully stabilize Afghanistan. The six-neighbors format, which Pakistan initiated, offers an effective modality to promote stabilization in Afghanistan,” Qureshi said.
There are a total of three major projects under construction in Afghanistan: The railway that connects Uzbekistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan, the CASA-1000, and the TAPI projects, whose pipeline construction has been completed in some regional states.
Earlier, the Islamic Emirate pledged that it would facilitate work on these projects in the future.
“Afghanistan’s neighbors want these projects to be implemented as soon as possible,” said Abdul Salam Hanafi, second deputy for the prime minister.
The work on CASA-1000 has stopped but Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat said it was committed to finishing the project.
Economists believe that some members of the ECO, especially Pakistan, are seeking to take advantage of Afghanistan’s economic potential. They said that Pakistan had always played a two-faced policy regarding Afghanistan’s economy.
“The Pakistanis are good lobbyers for Afghanistan, but they themselves are the problem. Every year Pakistan creates transit problems at its gate with Afghanistan amid harvest season of fresh fruit,” said Abdul Naseer Rishtia, an economist.
“Eco and SAARC are the two big organizations whose members inflicted more damage than profits to Afghanistan,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist.