Chatting with CNN from his non-public Bani Gala residence in Islamabad on Wednesday, Khan spoke about enduring what he perceived as a “horrible” relationship with the USA that has been disastrous for Pakistan and the way he’s now in search of a extra pragmatic method in coping with Afghanistan’s new leaders.
It was the Prime Minister’s first interview with a global information group for the reason that Taliban took management of neighboring Afghanistan final month, following the whole US withdrawal of troops.
“The Taliban maintain all of Afghanistan and if they will kind of now work in the direction of an inclusive authorities, get all of the factions collectively, Afghanistan might have peace after 40 years. But when it goes fallacious and which is what we’re actually apprehensive about, it might go to chaos. The largest humanitarian disaster, an enormous refugee downside,” Khan stated.
Khan claimed that the Taliban are on the lookout for worldwide support to keep away from a disaster, which could possibly be used to push the group in “the correct course in the direction of legitimacy.” Nevertheless he warned that Afghanistan couldn’t be managed by outdoors forces.
“No puppet authorities in Afghanistan is supported by the folks,” he stated. “So slightly than sitting right here and pondering that we are able to management them, we should always incentivize them. As a result of Afghanistan, this present authorities, clearly feels that with out worldwide support and assist, they will be unable to cease this disaster. So we should always push them in the correct course.”
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 state of affairs during which 18 million Afghans — virtually half of the inhabitants — have been in want of support, in response to United Nations businesses.
To critics who say the Taliban will destabilize the nation, Khan pointed to the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, which resulted in a “massacre.” Khan stated he was anticipating the same massacre to occur after the US forces left.
“Our intelligence businesses advised us that the Taliban wouldn’t be capable to take over all of Afghanistan, and in the event that they tried to take Afghanistan militarily, there can be a protracted civil struggle, which is what we have been frightened of as a result of we’re those who would endure probably the most,” Khan stated. Now, he stated, the world ought to “give them time” to type a respectable authorities and make good on their guarantees.
Ladies in authorities
Since assuming energy, the militant group has tried to burnish its worldwide credentials, with guarantees to uphold human rights, notably relating to girls and ladies, and permit journalists to proceed with their work.
“It is a mistake to assume that somebody from outdoors will give Afghan girls rights. Afghan girls are sturdy. Give them time. They may get their rights,” stated Khan.
“Ladies ought to have the flexibility in a society to meet their potential in life,” stated Khan. “In Pakistan, what we have now finished is we have now truly paid stipends to poor households to get the women to review at school as a result of we really feel that if the women, if the woman baby research, if they’ve schooling, they may get their very own rights,” he stated.
Nevertheless, many within the worldwide neighborhood are usually not hopeful the Taliban will make any progress on upholding girls’s rights. The Taliban, who dominated over Afghanistan from 1996 till 2001 however have been compelled from energy after the US-led invasion, have traditionally handled girls as second-class residents, subjecting them to violence, compelled marriages and a near-invisible presence within the nation.
The group banned girls from the office, stopped them from leaving the house unaccompanied and compelled them to cowl their complete our bodies.
Khan has beforehand criticized the US’ exit from Afghanistan and stated he has not spoken with President Joe Biden for the reason that Taliban takeover, regardless of Pakistan being a significant non-NATO ally.
“I might think about he is very busy, however our relationship with the US isn’t just depending on a cellphone name, it must be a multidimensional relationship,” stated Khan.
That is one thing Khan does not really feel Pakistan loved through the US’ 20 12 months struggle in Afghanistan. “We (Pakistan) have been like a employed gun,” Khan stated. “We have been imagined to make them (the US) win the struggle in Afghanistan, which we by no means might.”
Khan stated he repeatedly warned US officers that America couldn’t obtain its targets militarily, and would “be caught there.” He stated the US ought to have tried a political settlement with the Taliban from a “place of energy,” on the top 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 — fees denied by Islamabad. In 2018, Pakistani authorities launched prime Taliban official Mullah Baradar from jail with the specific objective of negotiating with the US. Final week he was named deputy prime minister within the Taliban’s all-male cupboard.
On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the US would reassess its ties with Pakistan following the withdrawal. He advised Congress throughout a Home Overseas Affairs committee listening to that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of pursuits some which can be in battle with ours.”
“It’s one that’s concerned hedging its bets continually about the way forward for Afghanistan, it is one which’s concerned harboring members of the Taliban … It’s one which’s additionally concerned in numerous factors cooperation with us on counterterrorism,” Blinken stated, Reuters reported.
Khan referred to as such feedback “ignorant,” telling CNN that “I’ve by no means 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.
Based on Khan, 1000’s of Pakistanis misplaced their lives in terrorist assaults by militant teams owing to his nation’s help for the US. “Simply because we sided with the US, we turned an ally of the US after 9/11 and the struggle in Afghanistan. The struggling this nation went by means of with at one level there have been 50 militant teams attacking our authorities… on prime of it, they have to additionally know there have been 480 drone assaults by the US in Pakistan,” he added.
“Solely time a rustic has been attacked by its ally,” he stated 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 protected havens?” Khan requested. “The realm of Pakistan alongside the border of Afghanistan had the heaviest surveillance by the USA drones … certainly they might have recognized if there have been any protected havens?”
By not standing as much as the US, earlier Pakistani heads of state opened themselves as much as accusations of collaboration, Khan stated.
“The query is, was Pakistan ready to take army motion in opposition to the Afghan Taliban when it was already being attacked from inside, from the Pakistani Taliban who have been attacking the state of Pakistan?” he stated.
Khan stated he can’t destroy his nation to “struggle another person’s struggle.”
“The Afghan Taliban weren’t attacking us. I want if I used to be in authorities. I might have advised the US that we’re not going to take them on militarily as a result of first, we have now to serve the folks. My duty would have been to the folks of my nation,” Khan stated.
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.