Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo has insisted that only an Afghan-led peace process can see the country emerge from within the grip of terrorist groups and to build a stable and prosperous nation.
The United States recently announced it would be withdrawing troops from the country after 20 years of pushing back the Taliban, which is considered to be a terrorist organisation by the vast majority of western states.
The invasion of Afghanistan followed the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City which was orchestrated by Osama Bin Laden, who was known to be harboured by the Taliban in the Afghan mountains.
The US’ withdrawal has seen the Taliban advance across the country at lightning speed, having taken the country’s capital Kabul, completing the long-feared national takeover by the group.
With the terrorist organisation’s take over of the country now complete, attention must turn to avoiding a humanitarian crisis.
Heartbreaking images have emerged of hopeless civilians waiting at the country’s airport in the hope of finding a way out of the country before it is too late.
Lovin Malta reached out to Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo to get his views on the latest developments and what he felt needed to happen going forward.
“A purely military intervention is never the answer. A purely political project does not work,” Bartolo told Lovin Malta.
He stressed the need for a social and economic process that benefits the Afghani people.
“I’m talking about wealth creation with social justice and job creation that sees families feeling that their lives have improved, and are able to build skills through education,” Bartolo said.
“Unless this happens we will have more failed interventions producing situations like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sahel, Libya… when will we ever learn.”
The minister insisted that intervening in such countries with a “daddy knows best mentality” does not work.
“For centuries Afghanis have not been allowed to build their own country and shape their own history. Other countries have invaded them to make use of Afghanistan for their own interests and not that of Afghanis,” Bartolo said.
As long as foreign powers continue to meddle in the country, “these complicated issues will not be resolved”.
Ultimately, he said it was incumbent on all countries with a potential interest in Afghanistan to “sit down together” within a United Nations framework.
“Stakeholders also need to agree to allow and support an Afghani-led process to build their country with a commitment that their territory cannot be used to threaten the security of any other country,” Bartolo said.
“This means that US and NATO, EU, China, Iran, Russia, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries should be involved together and no one should be excluded. For this to stand any chance of success we must return again to diplomacy with humility, to dialogue and negotiations, instead of confrontation and self-righteous crusading.”
What do you make of the minister’s remarks?