Dealing With the Afghanistan Fallout – the Neighbours Have a Virtual Get-together
Photo made available by the Taliban government, dated September 2021, in Afghanistan, showing the Fatih Zwakâ or “Victorious Force” as named by Taliban movement, who just took control of Afghanistan, most of them using US vehicles, gear, uniforms and equipment, seized in Afghan army abandoned barracks. Photo by Balkis Press/ABACAPRESS.COM
On Wednesday (September 8), in a relatively unusual move, foreign ministers of all six of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries met online.
According to the host, Pakistan’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the foreign ministers discussed their “shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.” Uzbek news reports hinted that the need for supporting humanitarian and development assistance had been on the agenda though concrete details were not supplied.
Foreign ministers of 6 neighboring countries of #Afghanistan including #Iran, #China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan & Turkmenistan had an online meeting today on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/pi0cJVi9Ng— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) September 8, 2021
A probable spur for the high-level meeting was the Taliban’s announcement on Tuesday of an interim national government in Afghanistan. This was met with very mixed reactions. Although the new rulers had said that they would aim to be inclusive, the list of names presented for the new cabinet included only a handful of individuals not of ethnic Pashtuns. There were no women at all, a fact protested by a tiny, if courageous, all-female demonstration in Kabul. While the Taliban seem to be savvier at PR communications than they had been during their previous spell in power, there will be much international head-scratching over some high-powered appointees. The new leader Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund is on a UN blacklist, and even more notably, the interior minister is Sirajuddin Haqqani, a man wanted by the FBI with a US$5 million bounty on his head.
Meanwhile, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, tweeting from exile, apologized for his ignominious departure from Kabul, which he described as having been the most difficult decision of his life – albeit one he believes was the only way to save the city from horrific bloodshed. He is also categorically denying reports that had suggested he tried to take huge sums of cash with him, claims that news agencies had linked to sources at the Russian embassy in Kabul on August 16.
In Dushanbe, in a speech marking his country’s 30th anniversary of independence from the USSR, Tajikistan’s president Emomali Rahmon bemoaned the new indifference of the world community towards Afghanistan after 40 years of conflict that had been the “result of the intervention of foreign countries.” He underlined Tajikistan’s desire to see an inclusive government, noting that many Afghan citizens are ethnic Tajiks, and suggested a “key role of the UN in advancing this process.” Iran’s Supreme Security Council Secretary, Ali Shamkhani, also stressed the need for inclusivity to ensure Afghanistan’s stability and peace.
China’s foreign ministry stated that the Taliban’s forming a government was a necessary step that should ‘put an end to the anarchy’ of the last three weeks. Meanwhile, Beijing stressed its unwavering policy of non-interference towards Kabul.
 In fact Turkmenistan was represented by the deputy foreign minister, Vepa Hadjiev