Pakistan’s leaders should respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty instead of calling for an interim government in Kabul as this is tantamount to “direct interference” in the country’s internal affairs, Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson Sibghatullah Ahmadi said Monday.
Reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s calls for putting in place an interim government to push talks with the Taliban, Ahmadi said on phone from Kabul that Khan had repeated his remarks despite widespread criticism in Afghanistan.
“These remarks are against good neighbourly relations and international law. We always protest against such comments,” he said.
“Pakistan’s leadership has to respect Afghanistan as a sovereign and independent country. We hope they will change their mind,” he added.
On Saturday, the Afghan foreign ministry summoned a Pakistani diplomat to explain Khan’s latest remarks and to protest over what it deemed as “explicit interference” in Afghan affairs as tensions flared between the two neighbours.
In late March, Afghanistan recalled its envoy from Pakistan over Khan’s suggestion that forming an interim government in Kabul might boost talks between the US and the Taliban. The ambassador returned after Pakistan clarified Khan’s remarks had been misunderstood.
Ahmadi said Afghanistan is still waiting for an explanation from Pakistan on Khan’s latest remarks, made while addressing a rally at Jamrud in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on Friday.
“We are waiting for an explanation. The last time, they had given an explanation, after which we sent our envoy back to Islamabad. Unfortunately, the latest remarks were a surprise as we didn’t expect such a statement,” he said.
Over the past month and a half, Afghanistan has demanded explanations from Pakistan four times over matters related to talks between the US and the Taliban. Pakistan has sought to position itself as a key player in the talks led by US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Khan has suggested an interim government in Kabul can help resolve problems in the talks and also accused President Ashraf Ghani’s government of being an obstacle to peace. He also said talks can be successful only if there is a neutral interim government that can hold free and fair presidential elections.
Apr 08, 2019 21:44 IST