Imran Khan frontlines negotiations with Taliban for inclusive govt

Premier meets Tajikistan president, reiterates need for peace in Afghanistan for regional stability

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he has initiated negotiations with the Taliban for the inclusion of representatives from Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara communities in the Afghanistan government.

In a tweet on Saturday, the PM said he met with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon and leaders of other countries which bordered Afghanistan to discuss the regional situation. Khan added that 40 years of in-fighting between the ethnic groups could be redressed with an inclusive government that would restore stability in Afghanistan and its surrounding region.

The premier met with regional leaders while on a two-day trip to take part in the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO’s) Heads of State Summit in Tajikistan’s capital city of Dushanbe. The PM inaugurated the first meeting of the Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum, which has been established to strengthen investment and trade relations between the two countries.

Khan has said on several occasions that establishment of peace in Afghanistan was seminal for regional stability. In an interview with an international media outlet on Wednesday, Khan said that the Afghan Taliban would require international aid to avoid mayhem as they emerged from a two-decade long US foreign occupation. The aid would ensure that Afghanistan gradually worked towards ensuring human rights and an inclusive government for its people.

Afghanistan’s caretaker cabinet is currently dominated by members of the Haqqani Network, who have historically adopted a hardline against western forces in the region. Abdul Salam Hanafi, an Uzbek, who has been appointed to the cabinet as second deputy prime minister, has been the only minority representation in the cabinet so far. Other leaders are predominantly Pashtuns, whereas women are entirely missing from the interim cabinet.