News Desk |
On Tuesday, Kabul recalled its ambassador from Islamabad over reports that Prime Minister Imran suggested Kabul establish an interim government to further the Afghan peace process. Kabul has lamented Imran Khan’s comments as irresponsible and for the third time, a Kabul-Islamabad diplomatic row has occurred over the Afghan government’s role in the peace process with the Taliban.
On Monday, while addressing journalists from multiple Pakistani media houses, PM Khan suggested that establishing an interim government in Afghanistan would allow the peace talks between the Taliban spokesmen and the US officials to go smoothly as the Taliban are adamantly refusing to negotiate with the Ghani-led government. Prime Minister Khan termed the Afghan government as a “hurdle” to the peace process with its insistence to be included in an intra-Afghan dialogue. Khan also mentioned that the Taliban were eager to meet him in Islamabad, but this meeting was canceled over the objections raised by Kabul.
We do not want any beyond the Constitution. We are not seeking to create a power vacuum but for sure we want sincere efforts for peace and elections, not a hindrance to the processes.
In a series of strongly-worded tweets, the spokesperson of the Afghan Foreign Ministry, Sibghatullah Ahmadi expressed “grave objection” on PM Khan’s statements, deeming them as “reckless”. His tweet reads, “Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its grave objection on Pakistani PM’s recent reckless statements about the peace process and establishment of an interim government, deemed such statements an obvious example of Pakistan’s interventional policy and disrespect to the national sovereignty and determination of the people of Afghanistan.”
It is important to note that this is the third diplomatic row between Kabul and Islamabad in one month, where Kabul is seen demanding explanations from Pakistan over comments made with regards to the Afghan peace process. Even though FM Qureshi has, time and again, assured Kabul of Pakistan’s support to the peace process and the possibility of an intra-Afghan dialogue, the Ghani-led government continues to accuse Pakistan of siding with the Taliban.
Tolo News reported that Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai dismissed PM Khan’s suggestion of establishing an interim government as an interference in the “internal affairs of Afghanistan”. Karzai’s statement noted, “We strongly support friendly relations with the neighboring and regional countries based on mutual respect.
Therefore, we call on the Pakistani government and all other countries to avoid making such statements and interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan under any means including the idea for the establishment of an interim administration.”
Mohammad Mohaqiq, leader of the Wahdat-e-Islami party and one of the Afghan leaders who attended the talks with Taliban representatives in Moscow, also lauded this suggestion as the “best possible option in the current situation”.
Amrullah Saleh, the former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency NDS and notorious for his anti-Pakistan rhetoric, also joined in the Kabul-led bandwagon of accusing Pakistan of harboring terrorists. He tweeted, “The PM of Pak asks for the abrogation of Afghanistan constitution and demolition of the democratic system as a way to break the so-called deadlock in peace efforts. That is the price ISI wants us to pay to appease terrorism.”
Interim Government: Solution to Afghan Conflict?
Former Afghan National Security Advisor and Ghani’s rival for the presidential race, Mohammad Haneef Atmar has also garnered the fury of Kabul over his suggestion to set up an interim government in Afghanistan. It was not his comments that angered the senior Afghan politicians, but in fact, the timing that coincided with PM Khan’s suggestions.
On Monday, Atmar had said that the National Unity Government, established by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah after the controversial elections of 2014, will lose its “legitimacy” after 22nd May and the Afghan people agree on this.
TOLO News quotes Atmar’s argument, “Our nation is gradually coming to a consensus that the continuation of the incumbent government has no legitimacy after May 22. We do not want any beyond the Constitution. We are not seeking to create a power vacuum but for sure we want sincere efforts for peace and elections, not a hindrance to the processes. Therefore, establishing an interim government based on the Constitution will be our top priority so that we assure our nation that peace and elections are coming.”
However, Atmar tweeted his disapproval against PM Khan’s comments that suggested the very same proposal to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. It is important to note that the decision of establishing an interim government in Afghanistan has been suggested by multiple leaders on several platforms to bring an end to the ravages of war. Mohammad Mohaqiq, leader of the Wahdat-e-Islami party and one of the Afghan leaders who attended the talks with Taliban representatives in Moscow, also lauded this suggestion as the “best possible option in the current situation”.
Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.