‘Engage with Taliban, incentivise them on women’s rights, inclusive govt: PM Imran Khan

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Prime Minister Imran Khan speaking to CNNs Becky Anderson at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad. Photo credit: CNN
Prime Minister Imran Khan speaking to CNN’s Becky Anderson at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad. Photo credit: CNN
  • PM Khan says that Pakistan had to endure a “terrible” relationship with the United States which turned out to be disastrous.
  • “I feel very strongly that it is a mistake to think that someone from the outside will give Afghan women their rights,” he says.
  • Says world should give the Taliban time to form a legitimate government and deliver their promises. 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that in order to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan, the world should “engage with the Taliban” and they should also be “incentivised” on issues such as inclusive government and women’s rights. 

The premier was interviewed by CNN on Wednesday at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad, during which he spoke about the situation in Afghanistan, the role of Pakistan in fostering regional peace, and the country’s relationship with the United States. 

Per the outlet, PM Khan said that Pakistan had to endure a “terrible” relationship with the United States which turned out to be disastrous for Pakistan.

He added that the country, under his leadership, is now seeking a “more pragmatic approach in dealing with Afghanistan’s new leaders.”

The premier told the outlet that Afghanistan is on a “historic crossroad” and it could finally achieve peace after 40 years if the incumbent Taliban government could form an inclusive government by getting all the factions on board.

“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, and the reemergence of terrorism ” he said, adding that since Afghanistan is undergoing a critical situation, the Taliban regime is looking towards the world for aid. 

“[The provision of aid] could be used to push the group towards the right direction and legitimacy,” he said, stressing that the country should remain sovereign and should not be controlled by outside forces.

“No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people,” he said. “So rather than sitting here and thinking that we can control them, we should incentivise 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.”

The premier also said that had the Taliban taken over Afghanistan by military force, a civil war would have ensued, adding that Pakistan was scared of such repercussions as it would have become the biggest sufferer.

He said that since the Taliban have taken control of the country, the world should “give them time” so that they could deliver their promises and form a legitimate government.

On Afghan women’s rights 

When questioned whether he supports the Taliban’s treatment of women, especially excluding them from sports, PM Khan said: “I feel very strongly that it is a mistake to think that someone from the outside will give Afghan women their rights [because] Afghan women are strong. Give them time, and they will get their rights.”

With regards to women having the same rights as men in public and private lives, PM Khan said: “Women should have the ability in society to fulfil their potential in life [but] you cannot impose women’s rights in Afghanistan from abroad.”



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