Guarded reception for Taliban’s new Afghan government in Asia, Europe

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Germany, China and Japan offered a lukewarm reception on Wednesday to the Taliban’s provisional government in Afghanistan, following the Islamist militants’ lightning seizure of Kabul last month.

Taliban leaders filled all the top posts in Tuesday’s government list – which had no outsiders and no women – while an associate of the group’s founder was named prime minister and the interior minister figured on a US terrorism wanted list.

The structure of the new government runs counter to advice to the Taliban from world powers for an inclusive government, backing up its pledges of a more conciliatory approach that upholds human rights, if it sought peace and development.

Voicing concern about the government’s composition, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he saw little reason for optimism about conditions in Afghanistan.

“The announcement of a transitional government without the participation of other groups, and yesterday’s violence against demonstrators and journalists in Kabul, are not signals that give cause for optimism,” he said.

Afghans who enjoyed major progress in education and civil liberties over the 20 years of US-backed government remain fearful of Taliban intentions and daily protests have continued since the Taliban takeover.

Maas said, however, that Germany was willing to keep talking to the Taliban in a bid to ensure more people were able to leave the country, hit by food shortages and a halt in international payments.



China, which shares a border with Afghanistan, had urged the establishment of an “open and inclusive” government after the Taliban seized power, amid the chaos following the withdrawal of US troops.