• Imran asks world community to give group more time to meet promises
• Says preventing women from acquiring education in Afghanistan would be un-Islamic
KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that Afghanistan could descend into civil war if the Taliban failed to form an inclusive government.
“If they do not include all the factions, sooner or later they will have a civil war,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
“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 recognise the new Taliban government.
He called for the new leadership in the neighbouring country to 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 statements they have made since they came to power have been very encouraging,” he said. “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.”
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 make a decision on whether to formally recognise the Taliban government alongside other neighbouring states. “All neighbours will get together and see how they progress,” he said.
“Whether to recognise them or not will be a collective decision.”
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2021