Pakistan rallies regional support for inclusive Afghan government

Islamabad, Aug. 25, (dpa/GNA) – Pakistan on Wednesday reiterated its call for a multi-ethnic Afghan government as the country’s top diplomat began a visit to Central Asian states.

“Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country. They should have a sense of belonging. That’s the set-up the world and the Afghan people will accept,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Qureshi met his Tajik counterpart in Dushanbe in the first leg of his visit of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

“The visit will rally support for a government in Afghanistan that represents all ethnic groups, each backed by these countries,” a Pakistani diplomat told dpa.

As the Taliban entered Kabul last week, Pakistan hosted a group of Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen and Hazara leaders from Afghanistan in a bid to form a consensus for a broad-based new government.

The Taliban said their consultations with Afghan leaders including former president Hamid Karzai and former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah were ongoing to form a new administration.

Pakistan last week said it would not recognize a Taliban government in Afghanistan without consulting other regional countries including Russia and China.

Islamabad has been accused of harbouring the Taliban for years, providing key support that helped the group to survive following the fall of their previous government in 2001.