Bangladesh will accept if Taliban form a government of the people: foreign minister

Bangladesh will accept it if Afghanistan forms a government of the people, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said after the Taliban took back control of the country.

Published : 16 August 2021, 02:49 PM
Updated : 16 August 2021, 02:59 PM

The Afghan government collapsed on Sunday after the hardline Islamist group overran capital Kabul 20 years after their US-led ouster.

The militants this time have sought to project a more moderate face, promising to respect women's rights and protect both foreigners and Afghans.

Afghanistan is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, Momen said. The war-torn country is “a friendly state” for Bangladesh. “We want their development. We want development of all with everyone,” he added.

“No matter which new government is formed, we will accept if it is of the people.”

“We believe in the democratic government of the people. We trust in the government formed by the will of the people,” the foreign minister said, adding that Bangladesh has friendly relations with all the governments and was ready to support them.  

“If a Taliban government is formed, which has been done, our door will be open to them if it is a government of the people.”

The foreign ministry in a statement said Bangladesh is carefully observing the fast evolving situation in Afghanistan, “which, we believe, may have an impact on the region and beyond”.

A total of 15 Bangladeshis were known to be in Kabul. They included 12 workers of BRAC International and three prisoners.

Three BRAC workers returned home on Friday before the Taliban entered the capital and six others took shelter at the home of the organisation’s country director. Bangladesh Ambassador to Afghanistan, Md Zahangir Alam, said they would fly back on Aug 22.

Three other Bangladeshi workers of BRAC were out of the country on vacation. They have been asked not to return to Afghanistan.

One of the Bangladeshi prisoners contacted the authorities after the Taliban freed the inmates. The two others are unaccounted for.

“Bangladesh and Afghanistan share historical and cultural linkages. It is a fellow member of SAARC and an integral part of South Asia,” the foreign ministry said in the statement.

Recalling the “invaluable support” extended by the government and the people of Afghanistan to Bangladesh during our War of Liberation from Pakistan, the foreign ministry said Bangladesh is committed to working with Afghanistan for fulfilling the policy of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that the region must grow and prosper together for this development to be sustainable.

“Bangladesh believes that a democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan as chosen by its people is the only guarantee of stability and development in the country.”

 The ministry added that Bangladesh considered itself a “potential development partner and a friend of Afghanistan”.

The statement continued: “We stand ready to share our best practices with Afghanistan in a range of areas, such as basic education, community healthcare, sanitation, human resources development, agriculture, climate change adaptation, disaster management and ICT enabled public service delivery.

“The successful outreach of Bangladeshi NGOs who have been operating in Afghanistan for the last twenty years has demonstrated that expertise.

“Bangladesh firmly believes that it is upon the people of Afghanistan to rebuild their country and decide the course of the future themselves.

“We wish to see Afghanistan as a peaceful, stable, prosperous, responsible and contributing member of the South Asian region and the global community.

“Bangladesh would be happy to continue to work with the people of Afghanistan and the international community for the socio-economic development of the country.

“We urge all stakeholders in Afghanistan to maintain peace and calm ensuring safety and security of all including foreign nationals.”

Bangladesh does not have an embassy in Afghanistan. The ambassador to Uzbekistan also works as the ambassador to Afghanistan. 

Militancy is believed to have raised its ugly head in Bangladesh through the Taliban. The police said some Bangladeshis left home recently as well to join the renewed Taliban fight for takeover. 

Momen said he hopes the Taliban insurgency will not have an impact on Bangladesh this time.   

“There were some terrorists in our country who had been trained in Afghanistan. We have uprooted them. The terrorists are not in Bangladesh anymore. We hope no more terrorists will be created.”