September 11, 2021 4:05:11 am
Three days after the Taliban announced a cabinet with inadequate representation of ethnic minorities and minus any woman member, India Friday called for an “inclusive dispensation” in Afghanistan, representing all sections of society.
Underlining that it was its “immediate neighbour and a friend to its people”, New Delhi said “the current situation is of direct concern to us”.
This was India’s first response to the announcement of the Taliban government, days after the Pakistan ISI chief reached Kabul and handpicked the appointments.
Making a statement at the UN Security Council in New York, T S Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, said: “India calls for an inclusive dispensation in Afghanistan which represents all sections of Afghan society. A broad based, inclusive and representative formation attained through an inclusive negotiated political settlement would gain greater international acceptability and legitimacy.”
Of the 33 cabinet members, only three are non-Pashtuns — Second Deputy Head of Government Abdul Salam Hanafi is an Uzbek; Chief of Army Staff Qari Fasihuddin and Minister of Economy Qari Deen Hanif are Tajiks.
Fasihuddin was key to Taliban’s advance in Badakhshan in north-east Afghanistan, and his appointment as Army chief is said to be a reward. Tirumurti said the situation in Afghanistan continues to be “very fragile”.
“As its immediate neighbour and a friend to its people, the current situation is of direct concern to us. Uncertainties abound about the future of the Afghan people, as well as about sustaining and building on the gains achieved over the last two decades. In this context, we reiterate the need for the voices of Afghan women to be heard, aspirations of Afghan children to be realised and the rights of minorities to be protected,” he said.
This comes in the wake of protests being held by women in Kabul and other cities against Taliban curbs on letting women work or study freely.
There was, however, no mention of the Taliban in the Indian statement or any articulation holding them accountable for the situation in the country.
“We call on humanitarian assistance to be provided urgently and underline the need to provide unhindered access to the UN and other agencies in this regard,” Tirumurti said.
Without putting the onus on the Taliban to improve the situation, he said Afghanistan has already seen enough bloodshed and violence in recent years.
“We call on the international community to come together, rising above any partisan interests, to stand together with the people of Afghanistan in their desire for peace, stability and security in the country. We need to enable all Afghans, including women, children and minorities, to live in peace and dignity,” he said.
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