Mullah Akhund pressed on inclusive Afghan government

Pakistan, Russia, Chinese envoys meet with acting premier


Kamran Yousaf September 21, 2021
The acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund met with representatives of Pakistan, China and Russia in Kabul. PHOTO: TWITTER/@osamabinjavaid

ISLAMABAD:

Special envoys of Pakistan, China and Russia on Tuesday met acting Afghan Prime Minister Mullah Hasan Akhund in Kabul as part of diplomatic efforts by key regional countries, seeking an inclusive government in Afghanistan acceptable to the international community.

This was only the second meeting of head of the interim Afghan government with foreign diplomats after Akhund held talks with the Qatari foreign minister earlier this month.

The Taliban spokesperson confirmed the meeting without providing details but Pakistani Ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmed Khan said the special envoys discussed inclusive government with the Taliban leader.

"Special Envoys on Afg of Pakistan Amb Sadiq, Russia Zamir Kabulov and China Yue Xiaoyong visited Kabul & called on Afghan Acting Prime Minister M. Hasan AKhund & senior leaders to discuss peace, stability & inclusive governance," he said in a tweet.

The special envoys also met separately with former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and head of the Afghan Peace Council Dr Abdullah Abdullah.

The Russian foreign ministry said a joint statement would be issued after the meeting.

Pakistan, Russia and China have convergence on the future of Afghanistan as on the one hand the countries have been urging the international community to remain engaged with Afghanistan while at the same time have been asking the Taliban to work towards an inclusive government.

The Taliban had promised inclusive government but the interim set-up they announced did not include any of their opponents or woman.

This led to criticism by the western countries, which made clear that they would not recognise the Taliban government unless they meet the international demands.

Pakistan, Russia and China also sought inclusive government but at the same they have asked the US to unfreeze the foreign assets of Afghanistan.

They fear that without economic assistance Afghanistan’s economy would collapse, something that would not only create a security vacuum but also trigger mass exodus of Afghans.

Also read: Afghan Taliban bring new faces to fill cabinet slots

At the recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran asked the US and its Western allies, which were part of the 20-year-long war in Afghanistan, to bear “primary responsibility” for the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan.

The foreign ministers of the four countries who met on the sidelines of the SCO summit called on the US to engage with the Taliban, though they also urged the new Afghan rulers to yield power to a more inclusive government, remain peaceful to neighbours and combat terrorism and drug trafficking.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the SCO should “use its potential” to “stimulate the new Afghan authorities” in fulfilling their promises on normalising life and bringing security in Afghanistan.

Putin’s views were echoed by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Without mentioning the United States by name, XI said that “certain countries” should assume their due responsibilities for Afghanistan’s future development, having been “instigators” of the situation.

However, Prime Minister Imran Khan hailed “a rare opportunity to end 40 years of war in Afghanistan,” while also urging the Taliban to ensure representation of all ethnic groups in its government. He encouraged the Taliban to create an “inclusive political structure” representing all ethnic groups.

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