“If they do not include all the factions, sooner or later they will have a civil war,” he told the BBC in an interview aired on Tuesday.
Khan said Pakistan was primarily concerned about the possibility of a humanitarian and refugee crisis if a civil war breaks out, as well as the possibility of Afghan soil being used by armed groups that are fighting the Pakistani government. “That would mean an unstable, chaotic Afghanistan,” Khan said. “That (Afghanistan) is an ideal place for terrorists, if there is no control or if there is fighting going on. And this is our worry. So terrorism from Afghan soil, and secondly, if there is a humanitarian crisis or a civil war, a refugee issue for us,” Khan said.
The Pakistan PM laid out three conditions to formally recognise the new Taliban government: the new leadership should be inclusive, it must respect human rights, and Afghanistan should not be used to house terrorists who could threaten Pakistan’s security.
When asked if the Taliban accepted the conditions, would Pakistan formally recognise the Taliban government, Imran replied that Pakistan would take a decision to formally recognise the Taliban government together with neighbouring countries.
“All neighbours will get together and see how they progress,” he said, adding whether to recognise them or not will be a collective decision. Pakistan, however, was a key ally of the previous Taliban government in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.
Imran described the act of preventing girls from attending school as un-Islamic. Last week, the Taliban excluded girls from secondary schools, with only boys and male teachers allowed back. But Pakistan’s leader said he believed girls would soon be able to attend.
“I think they will allow women to go to school,” he said. “It’s just too early to say anything,” he continued, adding that he expected Afghan women would eventually “assert their rights”.
The PM urged the international community to be patient with the latest change on the Afghan landscape. After 20 years of civil war, Imran said, the Taliban have come to power.
Time and again, Khan and his ministers have called for the world to engage with the Taliban’s interim government to stave off the possibility of a collapse of Afghan structures in the absence of central bank funds.
An estimated $10 billion in Afghan central bank funds remain frozen in foreign bank accounts, notably with the US Federal Reserve, following the Taliban’s takeover of the country a month ago.
On Monday, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated a call for those funds to be released in order to allow the Afghan government’s institutions, including schools and hospitals, to function. “On one hand, you’re raising fresh funds to avert a crisis, and on the other hand money that is theirs, belongs to them, they cannot use,” Qureshi told the media in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly.
After the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan had allied itself with the US in the war on terror. At the same time, parts of the country’s military and intelligence establishment maintained links with Islamist groups like the Haqqani Network and Taliban, a charge that Islamabad denies.