Afghanistan cannot sustain with a ‘puppet government’ and the Taliban can only be ‘incentivised’ to work in the ‘right direction’, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday. Pakistan has repeatedly been accused to attempting to interfere in the country’s affairs post Taliban’s takeover; by getting the Haqqanis a share in the government, or by helping the militants seize Panjshir.
In an interview to CNN’s Becky Anderson, Khan talked about women’s right in Afghanistan, what constitutes ‘freedom’ for the ravaged country and more. Khan said no one could predict the future of Afghanistan.
“We can hope and pray for peace after 40 years. And that the Taliban want an inclusive government. They want women rights in their own context. They want human rights. They’ve given amnesty. So, with what they have said so far, it becomes clear they want international acceptability. They did not go for international acceptability between 1962 to 2001,” Khan said.
But this time, Khan said, since the Taliban were making such statements, they should be incentivized in that direction. “But there’s another fallacy of Afghanistan, that it cannot be controlled by outside. They have such a history,” he said.
“No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people. It gets discredited amongst the people. So rather than sitting here and thinking that we can sort of control them, we should incentivize them,” he said.
He said the current government clearly felt that without international aid and help, they would not be able to stop this crisis. “So we should incentivize them. Push them in the right direction,” he said.
Talking about critics who argue that the Taliban will destabilise the country, Khan pointed to the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, which ended in a “bloodbath.” Khan stated that he expected a similar massacre once the US forces leave.
“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 said. He said the world should now “give them time” to form a legitimate government and “make good on their promises”.
‘Women Will Get Their Rights’
Since seizing control, the militant organisation has sought to improve its international standing by promising to protect human rights, notably those of women and girls, and to let journalists to continue their job. Women, on the other hand, have been excluded from the Taliban’s hardline provisional administration, ordered to stay at home in some areas, and their schooling has been restricted.
“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,” Khan told CNN.
“Women should have the ability in a society to fulfill their potential in life,” he said, adding, “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.”
Many in the international world, however, remain sceptical that the Taliban will make any headway in ensuring women’s rights. The Taliban, who controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 but were deposed by a US-led invasion, have long viewed women as second-class citizens, subjecting them to abuse, forced marriages, and a mostly invisible presence in the country.