Pakistan’s Imran Khan says world should give Taliban ‘time’ on human rights but fears

0

- Advertisement -


Speaking to CNN from his private 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 how he is now seeking a more pragmatic approach in dealing with Afghanistan’s new leaders.

It was the Prime Minister’s first interview with an international news organization since the Taliban took control of neighboring Afghanistan last month, following the complete US withdrawal of troops.

- Advertisement -

“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 said.

Khan claimed that the Taliban are looking for international aid to avoid a crisis, which could be used to push the group in “the right direction towards legitimacy.” However he warned that Afghanistan could 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 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 before the Taliban’s return to power, protracted conflict, poverty, back-to-back droughts, economic decline and the coronavirus pandemic had worsened an already dire situation in which 18 million Afghans — almost half of the population — were in need of aid, according to United Nations agencies.

To critics who say the Taliban will destabilize the country, Khan pointed to the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, which resulted in a “bloodbath.” Khan said he was expecting a similar bloodbath to happen 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 said. Now, he said, the world should “give them time” to form a legitimate government and make good on their promises.

CNN's Becky Anderson interviewed Imran Khan on Wednesday.

Women in government

Since assuming power, the militant group has attempted to burnish its international credentials, with promises to uphold human rights, particularly regarding women and girls, and allow journalists to continue with their work.

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

“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,” said Khan.

“Women should have the ability in a society to fulfill their potential in life,” said 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 said.

However, many in the international community are not hopeful the Taliban will make any progress on upholding women’s rights. The Taliban, who ruled over Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 but were forced from power after the US-led invasion, have historically treated women as second-class citizens, subjecting them to violence, forced marriages and a near-invisible presence in the country.

The group banned women from the workplace, stopped them from leaving the home unaccompanied and forced them to cover their entire bodies.

In recent days the Taliban has mandated the segregation of genders in classrooms and said female students, lecturers and employees must wear hijabs in accordance with the group’s interpretation of Sharia law. A Taliban official announced that women would not be permitted to play cricket and other sports. And Taliban fighters have used whips and sticks against women protesters, who have taken to the streets in sporadic protests across the country 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 previously criticized the US’ exit from Afghanistan and said he has not spoken with President Joe Biden since the Taliban takeover, despite Pakistan being a major 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…



Read More:Pakistan’s Imran Khan says world should give Taliban ‘time’ on human rights but fears

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.