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Erdogan says Taliban lacking ‘inclusive, encompassing leadership’

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Turkish president says Ankara is willing to work with Taliban if the armed group formed a more encompassing government.

The Taliban’s current approach and their interim government are not inclusive but Turkey is willing to work with them if the armed group formed a more encompassing government, President Tayyip Erdogan has said.

NATO member Turkey has been working with Qatar to operate Kabul airport for international travel after the Taliban took power and foreign countries withdrew from Afghanistan.

Turkey welcomed the Taliban’s initial messages but said it would evaluate its engagement and recognition of the group based on their actions.

“Looking at the Taliban’s approach right now, unfortunately an inclusive, encompassing leadership has not been formed,” Istanbul-based broadcaster Haberturk quoted Erdogan as telling reporters after attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Taliban has said it wants international recognition and financial help to rebuild the war-battered country, but the makeup of the new Taliban government poses a dilemma for many countries [File: Social Media/via Reuters]

“At the moment, there are only some signals [about] the possibility of some changes, that there may be a more inclusive atmosphere in the leadership,” Erdogan said.

“We have not seen this yet. If such a step can be taken, then we may move on to the point of discussing what we can do together.”

Erdogan’s comments came after Turkey’s ambassador to Kabul, Cihad Erginay, met Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Erginay said on Twitter that he pledged “Turkey’s continued support to the Afghan people and commitment to build upon our historic ties”.

Earlier this month, the Taliban appointed hardline veterans to an all-male cabinet.

The Taliban has framed the cabinet as an interim government, suggesting that changes were still possible, but it has not said if there would ever be elections.

International recognition

Neighbouring Pakistan, a close ally of Turkey, has also been among the countries calling on the Taliban to establish an inclusive government.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a Twitter post he “initiated a dialogue with the Taliban for an inclusive Afghan govt to include Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks”.

The Taliban has said it wants international recognition and financial help to rebuild the war-battered country, but the makeup of the new Taliban government poses a dilemma for many countries.

Several of the interim ministers are on the UN’s blacklist of international “terrorists and funders of terrorism”.

The Taliban’s took over Afghanistan last month after its stunning victory on the battlefield, capturing more than a dozen provincial capitals in less than two weeks.

This is the second time the Taliban has ruled Afghanistan.

Their first rule, from 1996 to 2001, ended when they were removed by a US-led coalition after the 9/11 attacks.



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