Inclusive government in Afghanistan key to sustainable security

December 20, 2021 - 21:14

TEHRAN – Pakistan has just played host to the biggest international gathering on Afghanistan in which Iran actively participated and submitted a number of proposals to address the dire situation in neighboring Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an extraordinary session on Afghanistan at the request of Saudi Arabia. The meeting of the OIC council of foreign ministers was held in Islamabad, Pakistan with the participation of Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. 

The session was the latest effort by Pakistan to put the limelight on the dire situation of Afghanistan amid growing international apathy toward the war-torn country. Since the rise of the Taliban a few months ago, Afghanistan has turned into a pariah state with no legitimate and internationally recognized government.

In August, the Taliban overthrew the U.S.-backed government in Kabul and assumed power. But it is yet to be recognized by any country. Since then, some of Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Iran, have tried to help the Afghan people while encouraging the Taliban into forming a broad-based government representing all Afghan ethnoreligious groups. The Taliban has announced a caretaker government that raised alarm bells across the globe for excluding women and ethnic groups. 

The Taliban’s acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, was in attendance at the OIC meeting but he was excluded from the family photo of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers given the fact that none of the OIC member states has recognized the Taliban-led government. 

With the Taliban government continuing to be unrecognized, the international community has faced difficulty providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people who are grappling with economic hardships during a frosty winter. 

Iran and some other countries have sent many planeloads of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. But some countries are concerned about and unwilling to directly provide aid to Kabul. This was addressed during the OIC meeting which pledged to set up a humanitarian trust fund for Afghanistan.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi also pointed to this issue. He said many want to make donations, but they don't want to donate directly, they want a certain mechanism that will comfort them.

Commenting on the OIC-proposed mechanism, Qureshi said that the mechanism has been established, and donations will be made. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan also highlighted the dire situation in Afghanistan. “Unless action is taken immediately, Afghanistan is heading for chaos,” he said, adding, “Any government when it can’t pay its salaries for its public servants, hospitals, doctors, nurses, any government is going to collapse but chaos suits no one, it certainly does not suit the United States.”

Pakistan seems to believe that the non-recognition of the Taliban’s government would further exacerbate the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. But the Taliban also failed to meet the requirements of the international community in regard to the formation of an inclusive government. 

Iran sought to help the Taliban in this regard by presenting a four-point proposal that seems to be devised to pave the way for recognition of the Taliban by the international community. 

In his speech at the OIC meeting, Amir Abdollahian unveiled Iran’s proposal that he said was made in support of the people of Afghanistan.

“First, Muslim states should encourage the ruling establishment in Afghanistan and all parties to form an inclusive government. Second, the people of Afghanistan are in dire need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The formation of a financial fund among the Muslim states seems necessary to realize this objective,” Amir Abdollahian said. 

He added, “Third, it is also necessary to release Afghanistan’s assets. Fourth, undoubtedly, the UN member states and its Secretary General can play a leading role in contributing to the formation of an inclusive government and assisting the people of Afghanistan and prevent a new humanitarian catastrophe.”

The Iranian foreign minister also expressed hope that an inclusive government will soon be formed in Afghanistan with the participation of all Afghan ethnic groups so that its representative will be able to attend the next OIC conference and Afghanistan’s seat won’t be vacant.  

Amir Abdollahian reiterated Iran’s position during a meeting with Imran Khan. He pointed out that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to cooperate with Afghanistan's neighbors, regional countries and the UN to facilitate the establishment of a broad-based government in Afghanistan by Afghans themselves. Amir Abdollahian also spoke of bilateral issues between Iran and Pakistan, especially the issue of border cooperation.

Leave a Comment