Pak tries to mediate amidst tensions between Tajikistan, Taliban

With tensions mounting between the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has stepped in to defuse tensions, Dawn reported.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan held telephonic conversation with President Em­o­m­ali Rahmon of Tajikistan today,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Saturday.

The call took place as Taliban officials and Tajik government exchanged barbs and reports emerged that Tajik forces held parades in regions bordering Afghanistan last week in a show of power and Taliban sent thousands of fighters to the border with Afghanistan’s northeastern neighbour, the Dawn news report said.

Tajikistan has taken a tough line on Taliban regime and has been critical of human rights violations committed by it, particularly in Panjshir province.

Khan had on his return from Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Tajikistan on September 18 announced that he was persuading Taliban to form an inclusive government by including people from other ethnicities.

He had on this occasion specially referred to his conversation with President Emomali on this issue.

“After mtgs 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,” Khan had then tweeted.

Taliban, however, see Tajikistan’s criticism of them and the composition of their government as meddling in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, the report said.

In an interview last week, Afghan Dputy Prime Mnister Abdul Salaam Hanafi said: “We will not allow any neighbouring nation to interfere in the internal matters of Afghanistan.”

Ethnic Tajiks make up the second biggest ethnicity in Afghanistan.

They are nearly 27 per cent of Afghanistan’s population.

Most of the groups opposing Taliban have, meanwhile, taken up refuge in Tajikistan.