DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has expressed his vision of the future government of Afghanistan under the Taliban's control, saying that Dushanbe wants to see all ethnic groups in the country represented in the next cabinet.
During talks with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Dushanbe on August 25, Rahmon said the most important issue for his country is the safety and rights of Afghanistan's ethnic Tajiks, who, according to the Tajik presidential service, make up almost half of the country's population.
While no reliable current data on ethnicity in Afghanistan exists to back up Rahmon's claim, the group Minority Rights says previous estimates have shown ethnic Tajiks comprise about 27 percent of Afghanistan's population, while ethnic Uzbeks make up 9 percent, and Turkmen 3 percent. The largest group, Pashtuns, are just over 40 percent of the populace.
Taliban militants have taken control of almost all of Afghanistan, including Kabul, the capital, after the United States started the withdrawal of its troops from the country. The situation caused chaos, as thousands of Afghans started looking for possibilities to leave the country.
The Tajik presidential press service also said that Rahmon emphasized that Dushanbe will not recognize a government "created by humiliation and ignoring the interests of the people of Afghanistan as a whole, including those of ethnic minorities, such as Tajiks, Uzbeks, and others."
"For the nearest solution to all of the political problems and security issues [in Afghanistan], an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic minorities, especially the Tajiks of Afghanistan, must be reached as quickly as possible," Rahmon said, adding that the political system in Afghanistan should be defined via a referendum.
In recent weeks, hundreds of Afghans have fled to Tajikistan and neighboring Uzbekistan as the Taliban offensive raised concerns of large refugee flows.
Last week, the U.S. State Department said Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are among countries that have “already begun or will soon begin transiting Americans, or in some circumstances others, through their territories."
Russia, a major ally to many countries in the region, has questioned U.S. intentions, saying Washington is "forcing" Afghans on Central Asian nations.
Other transit countries include Bahrain, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.