Muttaqi claims Taliban administration ‘inclusive’ despite criticism

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Taliban foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Tuesday defended the “inclusivity” of their administration, saying it encompasses various ethnic groups and social strata of Afghanistan, despite international criticism and calls for an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

During a meeting with Afghan businessmen in Turkmenistan, Muttaqi addressed criticisms of the Taliban’s governance structure. “It’s not about simply accepting foreign orders — from France, America, or Israel, for instance. In that sense, we’re indeed not all-inclusive. But if we consider the actual composition, we have officials from all regions,” he said.

This statement comes amid ongoing international scrutiny, with the United Nations independent assessment calling Taliban’s governance as “mono-ethnic.” According to the UN Secretary-General, such a government does not meet the challenges facing Afghanistan.

For over two years, the international community, including countries closely aligned with the Taliban like China, Russia, and Iran, has been urging the establishment of a government that includes a wider range of Afghan society.

Critics, including political experts and women’s rights activists, argue that the Taliban’s rule is authoritarian and does not represent the Afghan populace.

“This regime is a totalitarian regime that cannot represent the people of Afghanistan,” said political expert Jamshid Yama Amiri. “It represents a small minority that has imposed its will through force.”

The definition of an “inclusive” government varies significantly between the Taliban and the international community. The Taliban considers their inclusion of various tribal representatives sufficient, whereas the international standard calls for the inclusion of both Taliban and non-Taliban political forces, along with significant female participation. Meeting this criterion is considered a key step toward normalizing relations with the Taliban.

Women’s rights activist Masouda Kohistani criticized Muttaqi’s remarks as detrimental to both the Afghan population and the international diplomatic process. “Muttaqi’s false statements in Turkmenistan not only dishearten people and exacerbate their problems but also hinder the progress of international efforts,” she said.

At a recent meeting in Doha, Qatar, focused on Afghanistan, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the need for an inclusive government. However, Taliban officials have consistently stated that Afghan political figures living abroad will not be allowed to participate in the country’s governance.