The Taliban swept across Afghanistan last month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1. It took over Kabul on August 15 and on Tuesday, unveiled a hardline interim government led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund.
The UN chief said there were “no guarantees” about what might come out of talks but that discussions are a must “if we want Afghanistan not to be a center of terrorism, if we want women and girls to not lose all the rights acquired during the previous period, if we want different ethnic groups to be able to feel represented.”
“Until now, in the discussions that we have had, there is at least a receptivity to talk,” added Guterres, who does not rule out going to Afghanistan one day if conditions are right.
What the UN wishes is “an inclusive government,” where all components of Afghan society are represented, and “this first preliminary government” announced a few days ago “does not give that impression,” he added, regretfully.