Dushanbe/Kabul, Aug 25 (FN Agency) In remarks that will not go down well with the Taliban as it firms up its government in Kabul, the Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon has stated that Tajiks make up more than 46 percent of Afghanistan’s population and should play a major role in the future government there. Rahmon also said that Tajikistan will not recognize any government to be formed in Kabul through oppression. Ethnic Tajiks are believed to be the second-largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, after the Pashtuns, and Ahmed Massoud, who is leading the resistance force in Panjshir in northeastern Afghanistan, is reportedly a Tajik. There were reports in Afghan media and social media that arms and ammunition were being smuggled across the border into Panjshir from Tajikistan for Ahmed Massoud’s forces, but the Dushanbe government has denied this. “These messages are fake and have no basis,” the Tajik Foreign Ministry said.
Voicing his criticism of the Taliban and its proposed government during a meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, President Rahmon said on Wednesday that one of the major threats to regional security is the current situation in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe as a result of the withdrawal of coalition forces,” he said, according to a presidential statement. He said the dangerous situation that has developed in Afghanistan in recent days is not only the problem of the Afghan people, but also one of the most pressing regional and global issues today. “It should be noted that the coming to power of the Taliban movement in Kabul has further complicated the geopolitical process in the region at this stage. “Evidence clearly shows that the Taliban are abandoning their previous promises to form an interim government with the broad participation of other political forces in the country and are preparing to establish an Islamic emirate,” he noted.
“Tajikistan strongly condemns all forms of lawlessness, murder, looting and persecution of the Afghan people, especially Tajiks, Uzbeks and other national minorities,” he said. “It was stressed at the meeting that the victim Afghanistan and this friendly and brotherly nation of ours should not be dragged back into the whirlpool of bloody imposed wars. As a close neighbour, Tajikistan has always supported the restoration of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and remains committed to this position, he said. “The Republic of Tajikistan stressed that in order to urgently address the political and security problems of the neighbouring country, an inclusive government should be established as soon as possible with the participation of all national minorities, especially Tajiks in Afghanistan, who make up more than 46% of the population.” President Rahmon said the state structure in Afghanistan should be determined by referendum and taking into account the position of all citizens of the country. “Tajikistan will not recognize any other government that will be formed in this country through oppression, without taking into account the position of the entire Afghan people, especially all its national minorities.” “It was stressed that Tajiks have a worthy place in the future Government of Afghanistan.” “Tajikistan calls on the international community to take urgent measures to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan and to stabilize its difficult political and security situation through negotiations as soon as possible.”
He said the international community’s indifference to the current situation in Afghanistan could lead to a protracted civil war. It was stressed that Tajikistan is committed to the restoration of peace, stability and security in Afghanistan as soon as possible, “and we believe that the United Nations should play a key role in promoting this process”. Rahmon made proposals to the Pakistani side on ways to ensure peace, stability and further sustainable development of Afghanistan. In the course of the meeting a wide range of issues of development and expansion of bilateral cooperation in various fields of mutual interest has been considered. Both sides also discussed the preparations for the official visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Tajikistan. Many Afghans keen to flee the Taliban rule are likely to seek refuge in neighbouring Tajikistan. According to reports approximately 1,600 Afghan soldiers have fled to Tajikistan. Many of the Afghan warlords also fled to Tajikistan during the fight with the Taliban Tajikistan hosts Russia’s largest foreign military base, and has been holding joint exercises with Russian and Uzbek forces. Dushanbe is set to host summits for both the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in September. Tajikistan, which shares a long border with Afghanistan, has been a major transit point where evacuees from Kabul are taken first, before their onward journey to other countries. India has flown many of its evacuees from Kabul to Dushanbe before their onward journey home.