Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that he has initiated dialogue with the Taliban in Afghanistan to move towards a more inclusive government in that country, which would include the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara ethnic groups. The Pakistani Prime Minister has finished attending the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS), held in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
PM Khan noted that he had initiated this dialogue with the Taliban after a lengthy discussion with the President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan. The Pakistani PM had earlier emphasized the issue of an inclusive Afghan government in a joint press conference with President Rahmon in Dushanbe. He had described such an inclusive setup as necessary for sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Moreover, PM Khan described the ongoing fighting in Panjshir province as “worrying,” This violence has pitted the mostly Pashtun Taliban against groups from Afghanistan’s other major ethnic groups, especially the Tajiks. The Pakistani PM emphasized that the Taliban cannot dictate Afghanistan, and that Pakistan’s position was to urge them as friends to address disputes such as that in Panjshir through dialogue.
The interim government announced by the Taliban in Kabul has been widely criticized for its inability to represent the ethnic and sectarian diversity of Afghanistan, with most of the key positions being reserved for the armed group and its close allies.