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Pakistan rallies regional support for inclusive Afghan government

Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country. They should have a sense of belonging. That’s the set-up the world and the Afghan people will accept,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published August 25,2021
Pakistan on Wednesday reiterated its call for a multi-ethnic Afghan government, as the country's top diplomat began a visit to Central Asian states.

"Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country. They should have a sense of belonging. That's the set-up the world and the Afghan people will accept," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Qureshi met his Tajik counterpart in Dushanbe, the first leg of his visit of Afghanistan's neighbouring countries, including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

"The visit will rally support for a government in Afghanistan that represents all ethnic groups, each backed by these countries," a Pakistani diplomat told dpa.

As the Taliban entered Kabul last week, Pakistan hosted a group of Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen and Hazara leaders from Afghanistan in a bid to form a consensus for a broad-based new government.

The Taliban said consultations with Afghan leaders - including former president Hamid Karzai and ex-chief executive Abdullah Abdullah - about forming a new administration were ongoing.

Afghanistan's neighbours – Iran and Central Asian countries – have cautiously welcomed the Taliban announcement of seeking to form a multi-ethnic government and not to hurt regional states' interest.

But the fears that their rise will encourage radical groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) to wage a violent campaign for a similar rule in Central Asia keep weighing on the region.

The IMU is one of the several al-Qaeda affiliated groups that fought along with the Afghan Taliban for two decades against the international and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

A recent report by the United Nations said the Taliban is still hosting these groups, despite promising to dismantle them, as they agreed to do in the Doha peace deal with the United States in February 2020.

China, another key regional player, has shown interest in establishing working relations with the Taliban.

Pakistan last week said it would not recognize a Taliban government in Afghanistan without consulting other regional countries including Russia and China.

Islamabad has been accused of harbouring the Taliban for years, providing key support that helped the group to survive following the fall of their previous government in Afghanistan in 2001.