New Afghan government gives no cause for optimism, says German Foreign Minister

·1-min read
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a news conference in Doha, Qatar

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed concern on Wednesday about the composition of the provisional government established by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The cabinet list announced on Tuesday was entirely filled with leaders of the Islamist militant movement, and veterans of a guerrilla war that ended with a Taliban victory last month after two decades of fighting.

World powers have told the Taliban that it needs to have an inclusive government that backs up its pledges of a more conciliatory approach which upholds human rights if it wants peace and development.

"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," Maas said before meeting his U.S. counterpart.

Maas said, however, that it was willing to keep talking to the Taliban in a bid to ensure more people are able to leave the country.

Afghanistan faces a three-fold crisis, added Maas. While food shortages have hit many parts of the country due to drought, international aid payments have been stopped.

"And if a new government is not able to keep the affairs of state running, there is a threat of economic collapse after the political one - with even more drastic humanitarian consequences," warned Maas.

Before meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the U.S. base in Ramstein, Maas stressed the need for close coordination, saying they would discuss how to deal with the Taliban and how to evacuate more people from the country.

(Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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