Form inclusive govt, or face civil war, Imran warns Taliban

Wednesday 29th September 2021 06:40 EDT

Islamabad: Pakistan PM Imran Khan has called on the Taliban to form an inclusive government and warned that failure to do so could see the country descend into civil war. “If they do not include all the factions, sooner or later they will have a civil war,” Imran said in an interview. Imran said Pakistan was primarily concerned about the possibility of a humanitarian and refugee crisis if a civil war breaks out, as well as the possibility of Afghan soil being used by armed groups that are fighting the Pakistani government. “That would mean an unstable, chaotic Afghanistan,” Khan said. “That (Afghanistan) is an ideal place for terrorists, if there is no control or if there is fighting going on. And this is our worry. So terrorism from Afghan soil, and secondly, if there is a humanitarian crisis or a civil war, a refugee issue for us,” Khan said.

The Pakistan PM laid out three conditions to formally recognise the new Taliban government: the new leadership should be inclusive, it must respect human rights, and Afghanistan should not be used to house terrorists who could threaten Pakistan’s security.

When asked if the Taliban accepted the conditions, would Pakistan formally recognise the Taliban government, Imran replied that Pakistan would take a decision to formally recognise the Taliban government together with neighbouring countries. “All neighbours will get together and see how they progress,” he said, adding whether to recognise them or not will be a collective decision. Pakistan, however, was a key ally of the previous Taliban government in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

Imran described the act of preventing girls from attending school as un-Islamic. Last week, the Taliban excluded girls from secondary schools, with only boys and male teachers allowed back. But Pakistan PM said he believed girls would soon be able to attend. “It’s just too early to say anything,” he continued, adding that he expected Afghan women would eventually “assert their rights”. The PM also urged the international community to be patient with the latest change on the Afghan landscape.

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