Pakistan initiates dialogue with Taliban for inclusive Afghan government

Pakistan stated on Saturday that it has initiated dialogue with the Taliban for an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan a day after his meetings with the leaders of Afghanistan’s neighbors, including China, Russia, Iran, and Tajikistan, on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

“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 govt to include Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks,” PM Imran Khan said in a series of tweets.

After 40 years of conflict, he went on to say, this “inclusivity” will ensure peace and a “stable” Afghanistan, which is in the interest not only of Afghanistan but the region as well.

No further details of the dialogue were given.

The Taliban gave some important posts to non-Pashtuns in their interim government announced early this month, particularly the coveted seat of army chief to Qari Fasihuddin, a Tajik.

Nonetheless, the interim setup has not been recognized as an inclusive government by the international community, which wants more representation of minority communities and women.

Pakistan brokered the landmark first phase of direct contact between the former Afghan government and the Taliban in 2015.

Earlier in December 2018, Pakistan arranged for rare direct talks between Washington and the Taliban, paving the way for the Doha peace deal between the two sides.

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