ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s prime minister says he has “initiated a dialogue" with the Taliban to prod them to form an inclusive government that would ensure peace and stability not only in Afghanistan but also in the region.
Imran Khan tweeted on Saturday that he took the initiative after his meetings this week in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with leaders of countries neighboring Afghanistan.
The Taliban last week announced an all-male interim government that includes no women or members of Afghanistan's minorities — contrary to their earlier pledges on inclusivity. They have also since moved to curb women's rights, harking back to their harsh rule when they were in power in the 1990s.
Khan says he had detailed discussions with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s meeting in Dushanbe. The economic and security group is made up of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
“After meetings in Dushanbe with leaders of Afghanistan’s neighbors 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 & Uzbeks” Khan said in the tweet.
He said “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.”
Khan did not say what form his dialogue would take or elaborate on his plans.
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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Witnesses say a series of three explosions that targeted Taliban vehicles in the capital of Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province has left at least three people dead and 20 wounded.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday in Jalalabad, but the increasingly violent Islamic State affiliate is headquartered in eastern Afghanistan. The militant group is a rival of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s new rulers.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Taliban officials were among the dead and wounded.
Also on Saturday, a sticky bomb exploded in the capital of Kabul wounding two people, said police officials. The target of the Kabul bombing was not immediately clear.
— By Shershah Ahmdad
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers set up a ministry for the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice” in the building that once housed the Women’s Affairs Ministry, escorting out World Bank staffers Saturday as part of the forced move.
It’s the latest troubling sign that the Taliban are restricting women’s rights as they settle into government, just a month since they overran the capital of Kabul. In their first period of rule in the 1990s, the Taliban had denied girls and women the right to education and barred them from public life.
In Kabul, a new sign was up outside the women’s affairs ministry, announcing it was now the “Ministry for Preaching and Guidance and the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.”
Staff of the World Bank’s $100 million Women’s Economic Empowerment and Rural Development Program, which was run out of the Women’s Affairs Ministry, were escorted off the grounds Saturday, said program member Sharif Akhtar, who was among those being removed.