Pakistan PM says Taliban recognition will be 'collective decision' of neighbors; warns of civil war if group fails to form inclusive government

Describing as “encouraging” the statements made by Taliban leaders since coming to power in Afghanistan, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that the neighboring nation could descend into a civil war if the Taliban failed to form an inclusive government

Sep 22, 2021
Image
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Describing as “encouraging” the statements made by Taliban leaders since coming to power in Afghanistan, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that the neighboring nation could descend into a civil war if the Taliban failed to form an inclusive government. “The statements they have made since they came to power have been very encouraging,” Imran Khan told BBC in an interview.

He hoped the Taliban, which has Pakistan’s backing, would be true to their words and allow women to go to schools, even though reports have emerged of the hardline Sunni Islamist group discouraging women from attending educational institutions.

“I think they will allow women to go to schools. The idea that women should not be educated is just not Islamic. It has nothing to do with religion.”

He urged the Taliban to form an inclusive government.

“If they do not include all the factions, sooner or later they will have a civil war,” the prime minister said.

“That would mean an unstable, chaotic Afghanistan and an ideal place for terrorists. That is a worry.”

The prime minister laid out the conditions that would need to be met for Pakistan to formally recognize the new Taliban government.

He called for the new leadership ito be inclusive and to respect human rights. He reminded the Taliban that Afghanistan should not be used to house terrorists who could threaten Pakistan’s security.

As the Taliban had recently excluded girls from secondary schools with only boys and male teachers allowed to return, PM Khan said he believed that girls would soon be able to attend schools. He said preventing women from acquiring education in Afghanistan would be un-Islamic.

The decision to exclude girls from returning to school last week prompted an international outcry, with a Taliban spokesman later explaining they would return to the classroom “as soon as possible”. But it is not yet clear when girls will be able to return or what form of education will be provided if they do.

When pressed on whether the Taliban would realistically meet the criteria set by Pakistan for formal recognition, PM Khan repeatedly called on the international community to give the group more time. “It’s just too early to say anything,” he said, adding that he expected Afghan women to eventually “assert their rights”.

Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan would decide on whether to formally recognize the Taliban government alongside other neighboring states. “All neighbors will get together and see how they progress,” he said.

“Whether to recognize them or not will be a collective decision.”

(SAM)