Afghan Foreign Minister Says Taliban Leaders Unlikely To Be Present In Future Coalition Government

Afghanistan will in the future remain a republic, foreign minister of the Islamic State of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. The existing republican system of government was set up by a general council of mujaheddin after they took office in 1992. The Islamic State of Afghanistan with a president as its head has been officially recognised by the United Nations Organisation. "That's why," Abdullah said, "the system of an emirate, or in essence a theocratic state, being imposed by the Taliban, is illegal juridically on the one hand and unacceptable for the Afghan people on the other hand." The Afghan foreign minister said the Taliban leadership and leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan Gulbuddin Hekmatyar now in exile in Iran were unlikely to be part of the future coalition government. Dr. A. Abdullah added that the return of former king of Afghanistan Zahir Shah to the Afghan political scene does not mean the restoration of monarchy. The Afghan diplomat said that, as soon as the Taliban regime is overthrown, a provisional government will be formed in Afghanistan in order to create conditions for holding an all-Afghan referendum and forming a coalition government. "We respect the traditional Afghan institution, Loya Jirga, which gathers in moments crucial for the state," the minister said. At the same time Dr. A. Abdullah did not rule out that the centuries-long principle of forming the Supreme Assembly may be changed to allow the broadest strata of population, women included, to participate in it. "We intend to hold a 21st-century Loya Jirga, not that of the 18th century," the Afghan foreign minister stressed.

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