ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, has said the fall of Kabul to the Taliban earlier this month was not a military takeover, saying the insurgent group had entered the Afghan capital to “prevent lawlessness.”
“It’s not the correct interpretation that this is a military takeover,” he said in an interview with a local news channel on Wednesday, saying Taliban leaders had directed their fighters not to enter Kabul after they reached the outskirts of the city.
“But since no government was left in Kabul and the US and western powers had confined their embassies and forces to the airport only, the Taliban had to enter Kabul to prevent lawlessness and avoid anarchy,” the Pakistani envoy said.
The statement by the Pakistani envoy comes at a time when Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is on a regional diplomacy tour of Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to discuss the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and present Pakistan’s perspective.
Mansoor Ahmad Khan has said that Islamabad was in contact with the Taliban, adding that it wished for an inclusive government in the neighbouring country. “We are in contact with the Taliban,” Khan said in an interview.
“Our special envoy was in contact with them in Qatar, and Mullah Baradar and other leaders of the Taliban held talks with us there. We had also spoken to the Afghan delegation, which Abdullah Abdullah was leading,” he added.
He also said that Pakistan wished to see an inclusive government in Afghanistan, as per the newspaper. However, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been barring his ministers to speak or issue any statement over the Taliban’s recent takeover in Afghanistan, according to a recent media report. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to the UAE, leaving the presidential palace in Kabul on August 15 to the insurgent Taliban fighters who had toppled his government in a matter of weeks, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.
Since then, Islamabad has urged the Taliban and other Afghan leaders to sit together and form an inclusive government as soon as possible. The Taliban have said they want peace and will not take revenge upon past enemies. They have also promised a free media and rights for women within an Islamic framework, though doubts are already emerging about their promises.
In the past, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and other senior officials have repeatedly said a forceful or military takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban would not be acceptable to them. But in a policy shift, Ambassador Khan defended the manner in which the group came to power.