Initiated dialogue with Taliban for inclusive govt, says Pak PM

Wednesday 22nd September 2021 07:10 EDT

Islamabad: Pakistan PM Imran Khan said that he was in talks with the Taliban on installing an inclusive government in Afghanistan that provides representation to all ethnic groups of the war-torn country. “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 government to include Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks,” Imran tweeted. “After 40 years of conflict, this inclusivity will ensure peace and a stable Afghanistan, which is in the interest not only of Afghanistan but the region as well.” Almost similar views were expressed by leaders of other countries at the recent 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit, with economic cooperation among the member states and Afghanistan’s situation being the pivotal topics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had spoken via a video link, noted that the new provisional government could not be called representative or inclusive, “as we do not see representatives of other ethnic groups there, but believe we need to work with it”. Putin also criticised the withdrawal of the US-led forces from Afghanistan and urged the SCO member states to talk about dealing with the volatile situation there.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had said it was necessary to “encourage Afghanistan to put in place a broad-based and inclusive political framework” and “resolutely fight all forms of terrorism” so that it can live in peace with its neighbours. He was of the opinion that Afghanistan should be guided to be more open and inclusive, and pursue moderate domestic and foreign policies.

Earlier this month, the Afghan Taliban had announced a 33-member caretaker government without any non-Talib or women. The interim set-up is dominated mainly by Pashtuns, who constitute less than half of Afghanistan’s population.

‘Sorry is not enough,’ say survivors of US drone strike

Sorry is not enough for the Afghan survivors of an errant US drone strike that killed 10 members of their family, including seven children. Emal Ahmadi, whose 3-year-old daughter Malika was killed on August 29, when the US hellfire missile struck his elder brother’s car, said that the family demands Washington investigate who fired the drone and punish the military personnel responsible for the strike. “It is not enough for us to say sorry,” said Ahmadi. “The USA should find the person who did this.” Ahmadi said the family is also seeking financial compensation for their losses and demanded that several members of the family be relocated to a third country, without specifying which country. News organisations in Kabul reported after the strike that the driver of the targeted vehicle, Zemerai Ahmadi, was a longtime employee at an American humanitarian organisation and cited an absence of evidence to support the Pentagon’s assertion that the vehicle contained explosives. The missile struck as the car was pulling into the family’s driveway and the children ran to greet Zemerai. US Marine General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, called the strike a “tragic mistake”, and after weeks of denials, said that innocent civilians were indeed killed in the attack and not an Islamic State extremist as was announced earlier. The drone strike followed a devastating suicide bombing by the Islamic State group that killed 169 Afghans and 13 US military personnel at one of the gates to the Kabul airport. McKenzie apologised for the error and said the US is considering making reparation payments to the family of the victims. Emal Ahmadi, who said he heard of the apology from friends in America, insisted that it won’t bring back members of his family and while he expressed relief for the US apology and recognition that his family were innocent victims, he said he was frustrated that it took weeks of pleading with Washington to at least make a call to the family.

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