Imran initiates dialogue with Taliban for inclusive govt

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

New Delhi, (Asian independent) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday that he has initiated a dialogue with the Taliban for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan representing multiple ethnic groups.

The statement by Khan came in a tweet after the conclusion of the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit, where regional leaders, including Khan, met to discuss the situation in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal from the war-torn country, the Dawn reported.

“After meetings in Dushanbe with leaders of Afghanistan’s neighbours, and especially a lengthy discussion with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon, I have initiated a dialogue with the Taliban for an inclusive Afghan government to include Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks,” Khan tweeted.

In a subsequent tweet, he added: “After 40 years of conflict, this inclusivity will ensure peace and a stable Afghanistan, which is in the interest not only of Afghanistan, but the region as well.”

Other leaders at the conference had shared similar views, pointing out that Afghanistan’s new interim cabinet almost exclusively comprised ethnic Pashtuns, the group’s main support base, the report said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had spoken via a video link, noted that the new provisional government could not be called representative or inclusive, “as we do not see representatives of other ethnic groups there. But we believe we need to work with it”.

Similarly, Chinese President Xi Jinping had said that it is necessary to “encourage Afghanistan to put in place a broad-based and inclusive political framework” and to “resolutely fight all forms of terrorism” and live in peace with its neighbours.

He was of the opinion that Afghanistan should be guided to be more open and inclusive, and pursue moderate domestic and foreign policies.