Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the best approach to end crisis in Afghanistan is to "incentivise" the Taliban's new administration, but feared "chaos" unless they are pushed in the "right direction".
In an interview to CNN's Becky Anderson, Khan talked about women's right in Afghanistan and hopes for an "inclusive" government. Khan said no one could predict the future of Afghanistan.
Khan's statement comes amid repeated accusations on Pakistan' interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs since the Taliban takeover by getting the Haqqanis a share in the government.
"Where Afghanistan goes from here, I am afraid none of us can predict," Khan said. "We can hope and pray that there is peace after 40 years. That the Taliban, what they have said, that they want an inclusive government, they want women rights — in their own context, they want human rights; they have given amnesty so, so far what they have said (shows) clearly they want international acceptability."
The prime minister said that peace can be ensured in Afghanistan if the Taliban work towards an inclusive government. However he warned: "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 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."
He also added that Afghanistan could not be controlled by "outside forces".
"No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people," he said, adding, "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."
Talking about critics who content that the Taliban will destabilise the country, Khan pointed to the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, which ended in a "bloodbath". Khan said he expected a similar massacre after the US troops 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.
Cannot impose Afghan women's rights from abroad
Even as the Taliban have shown an inclination for positive press and image makeover among the Western circles since takeover, they have broken their promises on women's rights and inclusivity in Afghanistan.
No women were included in Taliban's hard-line interim government. 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," 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."
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 have historically treated women as second-class citizens, subjecting them to violence.