KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Putrajaya has kept communications channels with the Taliban government in Afghanistan open through its embassy in Qatar, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar told the Dewan Rakyat today.
The Bandar Tun Razak MP from Bersatu said the federal government saw it necessary to remain in dialogue with the militant group, and hopes to play a role in shaping a new Afghanistan government that respects fundamental rights of all its citizens, especially women.
The Malaysian government said in September that it has yet to recognise Taliban rule.
“We still communicate (with them) through certain channels… through our embassy in Qatar we have had dialogue with their leaders,” Kamarudin replied to Hulu Langat MP Datuk Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus during Question Time.
“This is so we can ensure they establish a government that respects the fundamental rights of all Afghan citizens from the democratic perspective and also women’s rights,” he added.
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said in September that Malaysia would back a peaceful solution and conveyed hope that the Taliban would pave the way for an inclusive “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” government.
In an official statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, Saifuddin urged respect for the sanctity of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Afghanistan, which guarantees the full and meaningful participation of women, youth, and minorities.
The issue has polarised lawmakers even from within the ruling coalition.
Its conservative members have been pushing for Putrajaya to recognise the Taliban government but are facing opposition from their moderate counterparts, who remain suspicious of the group’s pledges to be more inclusive.
No country has formally recognised the Taliban government since the insurgents took over the country in August, Reuters reported in October.
The group had called on the United States and other countries to recognise its government in Afghanistan, saying that a failure to do so and the continued freezing of Afghan funds abroad would lead to problems not only for the country but for the world.
Billions of dollars in Afghan assets and funds abroad have been frozen, even as the country faces severe economic and humanitarian crises.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 11, 2001, attack after the then-Taliban government refused to hand over al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.