UNITED NATIONS, Sept 23 (AP/Xinhua): Be realistic. Show patience. Engage. And above all, don't isolate. Those are the pillars of an approach emerging in Pakistan to deal with the fledgling government that is suddenly running the country next door once again - Afghanistan's resurgent, often-volatile Taliban.
Pakistan's government is proposing that the international community develop a road map that leads to diplomatic recognition of the Taliban - with incentives if they fulfill its requirements - and then sit down face to face and talk it out with the militia's leaders.
Pakistani Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mehmood Qureshi outlined the idea Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's meeting of world leaders.
"If they live up to those expectations, they would make it easier for themselves, they will get acceptability, which is required for recognition," Qureshi told the AP. "At the same time, the international community has to realize: What's the alternative? What are the options? This is the reality, and can they turn away from this reality?"
He said Pakistan "is in sync with the international community" in wanting to see a peaceful, stable Afghanistan with no space for terrorist elements to increase their foothold, and for the Taliban to ensure "that Afghan soil is never used again against any country."
"But we are saying, be more realistic in your approach," Qureshi said. "Try an innovative way of engaging with them. The way that they were being dealt with has not worked."
Expectations from the Taliban leadership could include an inclusive government and assurances for human rights, especially for women and girls, Qureshi said. In turn, he said, the Afghan government might be motivated by receiving development, economic and reconstruction aid to help recover from decades of war.
He urged the United States, the International Monetary Fund and other countries that have frozen Afghan government funds to immediately release the money so it can be used "for promoting normalcy in Afghanistan."
And he pledged that Pakistan is ready to play a "constructive, positive" role in opening communications channels with the Taliban because it, too, benefits from peace and stability.
"What the international community can do, in my view, is sit together and work out a roadmap," Qureshi said. "And if they fulfill those expectations, this is what the international community can do to help them stabilize their economy. This is the humanitarian assistance that can be provided. This is how they can help rebuild Afghanistan, reconstruction and so on and so forth."
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
Both sides expressed their intention to cooperate in order to prevent terrorism, extremism and drug-related crimes, the Kremlin said in a press release.
They emphasized the importance of fostering an intra-Afghan dialogue, with the interests of all groups of the population taken into account.
Putin informed Draghi of the results of the Collective Security Treaty Organization summit, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit and a joint meeting of the two groups held last week in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The leaders discussed post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan, including efforts by the Group of 20, which Italy is chairing this year.
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