Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan warns of ‘civil war’ in Afghanistan

Sept 22, 2021: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned of the risk of a “civil war” in Afghanistan if the Taliban is unable to form an inclusive government there.

“If they do not have an inclusive government, and gradually it descends into a civil war, which if they do not include all the factions sooner or later something will happen, that too will impact Pakistan,” Khan told the BBC network during an interview.

Imran 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 Pakistan’s  government.

“It will mean an unstable, a chaotic Afghanistan,” he said.

“[This one] is an ideal place for terrorists, because if there is no control or if the fighting is going on. And that’s our concern. So terrorism from Afghan soil, and the other if there’s a humanitarian crisis or civil war. There is the problem of refugees.”

PM Imran Khan has repeatedly called on the world to work with the Taliban’s interim government to prevent the collapse of the Afghan structure in the absence of central bank funds.

An estimated $10 billion in Afghan central bank funds has been frozen in foreign bank accounts since the Taliban took over a month ago, mainly with the US Federal Reserve.

On Monday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reiterated his call for the funds to be frozen to allow Afghan government institutions, including schools and hospitals, to operate.

PM Imran Khan, who recently attended a summit of regional countries as well as Russia and China under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, said that recognition would depend on three factors.

“All of us in the SCO decided that we would collectively take a decision to recognise Afghanistan, and that decision will depend on will they have an inclusive government, their assurance of human rights, and that Afghan soil should not be used for terrorism, and neighbours are the most worried about that,” he said in the BBC interview.

PM Khan said Pakistan would push the Taliban to form a politically and ethnically inclusive government, “because there will not be any long term sustainable peace or stability unless all the factions, all the ethnic groups, are represented”.

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