Failure to form inclusive govt could lead to civil war in Afghanistan: Imran Khan

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday called on the Taliban to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan, warning that a failure to do so could see the neighbouring country descend into civil war and turn into an “ideal place” for terrorists.

Khan also said that preventing women from accessing education in Afghanistan would be un-Islamic.

On Tuesday, a Taliban spokesman announced the remaining members of Afghanistan’s all-male government.

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“If they do not include all the factions, sooner or later they will have a civil war,” Khan told the BBC in an interview.

“That would mean an unstable, chaotic, Afghanistan and an ideal place for terrorists. That is a worry”, Khan said, days after tweeting that he has initiated a dialogue with the Taliban for an inclusive Afghanistan government having Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks.

When pressed on whether the Taliban would realistically meet his criteria for formal recognition, Khan repeatedly called on the international community to give the hardline Islamist group more time.

“It’s just too early to say anything,” he said, adding that he expected Afghan women to eventually “assert their rights”.

During the interview, Khan laid out the conditions that would need to be met for Pakistan to formally recognise the new Taliban government, the BBC reported.

Khan said that 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.”

Khan called for the leadership of the insurgent group to be inclusive and to respect human rights.

He also said Afghanistan should not be used to house terrorists who could threaten Pakistan’s security.

Pakistan has not been seen by all as a firm ally in the battle against jihadist terrorism. It has long been accused by many in the United States and elsewhere of providing support for the Taliban, something it denies, the BBC report noted.

After the 9/11 attacks that were planned in Afghanistan, Pakistan positioned itself as an ally of the US in the so-called “war on terror”. But at the same time, parts of the country’s military and intelligence establishment maintained links with Islamist groups like the Taliban, it added.

Last week, the Taliban excluded girls from secondary schools with only boys and male teachers allowed back. But Khan said he believed girls would soon be able to attend.

“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,” he said.”The idea that women should not be educated is just not Islamic. It has nothing to do with religion,” Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, said.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in mid-August, fears have grown over a return to the regime of the 1990s when the Islamists severely restricted women’s rights.

The Taliban leadership maintains that the rights of women will be respected “within the framework of Islamic law”.

The decision to exclude girls from returning to school last week prompted an international outcry.

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