Pakistan’s Imran Khan says world should give Taliban ‘time’ on human rights but fears ‘chaos’ without aid

Speaking to CNN from his personal Bani Gala residence in Islamabad on Wednesday, Khan spoke about enduring what he perceived as a “terrible” relationship with the United States that has been disastrous for Pakistan and the way he’s now looking for a extra pragmatic method in coping with Afghanistan’s new leaders.

It was the Prime Minister’s first interview with a global information group because the Taliban took management of neighboring Afghanistan final month, following the entire US withdrawal of troops.

“The Taliban hold all of Afghanistan and if they can sort of now work towards an inclusive government, get all the factions together, Afghanistan could have peace after 40 years. But if it goes wrong and which is what we are really worried about, it could go to chaos. The biggest humanitarian crisis, a huge refugee problem,” Khan mentioned.

Khan claimed that the Taliban are on the lookout for worldwide aid to keep away from a disaster, which might be used to push the group in “the right direction towards legitimacy.” However he warned that Afghanistan couldn’t be managed by outdoors forces.

“No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people,” he mentioned. “So rather than sitting here and thinking that we can control them, we should incentivize them. Because Afghanistan, this current government, clearly feels that without international aid and help, they will not be able to stop this crisis. So we should push them in the right direction.”

Even earlier than the Taliban’s return to energy, protracted battle, poverty, back-to-back droughts, financial decline and the coronavirus pandemic had worsened an already dire scenario during which 18 million Afghans — virtually half of the inhabitants — had been in want of aid, based on United Nations companies.

To critics who say the Taliban will destabilize the nation, Khan pointed to the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, which resulted in a “bloodbath.” Khan mentioned he was anticipating the same massacre to occur after the US forces left.

“Our intelligence agencies told us that the Taliban would not be able to take over all of Afghanistan, and if they tried to take Afghanistan militarily, there would be a protracted civil war, which is what we were scared of because we are the ones who would suffer the most,” Khan mentioned. Now, he mentioned, the world should “give them time” to type a reputable authorities and make good on their guarantees.

Women in authorities

Since assuming energy, the militant group has tried to burnish its worldwide credentials, with guarantees to uphold human rights, notably concerning ladies and ladies, and permit journalists to proceed with their work.

However, ladies have been omitted from the Taliban’s hard-line interim government, have been ordered to stay at home in some areas, and their schooling restricted. Protests in opposition to Taliban rule and for civil rights have been violently suppressed, with studies of journalists being arrested and severely overwhelmed.

“It’s a mistake to think that someone from outside will give Afghan women rights. Afghan women are strong. Give them time. They will get their rights,” mentioned Khan.

“Women should have the ability in a society to fulfill their potential in life,” mentioned Khan. “In Pakistan, what we have done is we have actually paid stipends to poor families to get the girls to study in school because we feel that if the girls, if the girl child studies, if they have education, they will get their own rights,” he mentioned.

However, many within the worldwide group aren’t hopeful the Taliban will make any progress on upholding ladies’s rights. The Taliban, who dominated over Afghanistan from 1996 till 2001 but had been compelled from energy after the US-led invasion, have traditionally handled ladies as second-class residents, subjecting them to violence, compelled marriages and a near-invisible presence within the nation.

The group banned ladies from the office, stopped them from leaving the house unaccompanied and compelled them to cowl their complete our bodies.

In latest days the Taliban has mandated the segregation of genders in school rooms and mentioned feminine college students, lecturers and workers should put on hijabs in accordance with the group’s interpretation of Sharia legislation. A Taliban official introduced that ladies would not be permitted to play cricket and different sports activities. And Taliban fighters have used whips and sticks in opposition to ladies protesters, who’ve taken to the streets in sporadic protests throughout the nation demanding equal rights.
“In contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, over the past three weeks women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere,” UN human rights chief, Michele Bachelet said in Geneva on Monday.

US withdrawal

Khan has beforehand criticized the US’ exit from Afghanistan and mentioned he has not spoken with President Joe Biden because the Taliban takeover, regardless of Pakistan being a significant non-NATO ally.

“I would imagine he’s very busy, but our relationship with the US is not just dependent on a phone call, it needs to be a multidimensional relationship,” mentioned Khan.

That’s one thing Khan would not really feel Pakistan loved through the US’ 20 yr struggle in Afghanistan. “We (Pakistan) were like a hired gun,” Khan mentioned. “We were supposed to make them (the US) win the war in Afghanistan, which we never could.”

Khan mentioned he repeatedly warned US officers that America couldn’t obtain its goals militarily, and would “be stuck there.” He mentioned the US should have tried a political settlement with the Taliban from a “position of strength,” on the peak of its presence in Afghanistan, not because it was withdrawing.

Pakistan has had deep ties with the Taliban and has been accused of supporting the group because it battled the US-backed authorities — prices denied by Islamabad. In 2018, Pakistani authorities launched prime Taliban official Mullah Baradar from jail with the categorical function of negotiating with the US. Last week he was named deputy prime minister within the Taliban’s all-male cupboard.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned the US would reassess its ties with Pakistan following the withdrawal. He informed Congress throughout a House Foreign Affairs committee listening to that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours.”

“It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harboring members of the Taliban … It is one that’s also involved in different points cooperation with us on counterterrorism,” Blinken mentioned, Reuters reported.

Khan known as such feedback “ignorant,” telling CNN that “I have never heard such ignorance.”

As a neighboring nation with deep cultural ties, the destiny of Pakistan is tethered to that of Afghanistan. Violence, political tumult and humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan all inevitably spill throughout the border. For Khan, the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was disastrous for Pakistan.

According to Khan, 1000’s of Pakistanis misplaced their lives in terrorist assaults by militant teams owing to his nation’s assist for the US. “Just because we sided with the US, we became an ally of the US after 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. The suffering this country went through with at one point there were 50 militant groups attacking our government… on top of it, they must also know there were 480 drone attacks by the US in Pakistan,” he added.

“Only time a country has been attacked by its ally,” he mentioned of the US strikes.

The US has repeatedly accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists and given them protected haven, a declare Khan denies.

“What are these safe havens?” Khan requested. “The area of Pakistan along the border of Afghanistan had the heaviest surveillance by the United States drones … surely they would have known if there were any safe havens?”

By not standing as much as the US, earlier Pakistani heads of state opened themselves as much as accusations of collaboration, Khan mentioned.

“The question is, was Pakistan in a position to take military action against the Afghan Taliban when it was already being attacked from inside, from the Pakistani Taliban who were attacking the state of Pakistan?” he mentioned.

Khan mentioned he can not destroy his nation to “fight someone else’s war.”

“The Afghan Taliban weren’t attacking us. I wish if I was in government. I would have told the US that we are not going to take them on militarily because first, we have to serve the people. My responsibility would have been to the people of my country,” Khan mentioned.

CNN’s Becky Anderson, Alireza Haji Hosseini and Zeena Saifi reported from Islamabad, and Helen Regan wrote from Hong Kong. With further reporting from Reuters.

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