Prime Minister Imran Khan has made a strong pitch to rally behind the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for the sake of the Afghan people. In his wide-ranging UN General Assembly speech, the prime minister warned the world that a destabilized and insecure country could once again turn into a safe haven for terrorists.
Pakistan has consistently called for recognition of the Taliban government and providing assistance for averting a humanitarian crisis to prevent an economic collapse. While the world has expressed interest in engaging with the Taliban and providing aid, many West countries are reluctant to release funds for development. This is fueled by apprehensions over human rights abuses, women’s representation, and the inability to form an inclusive government.
PM Imran Khan has dispelled the impression, saying the Taliban have promised to respect human rights and prevent terrorist groups from using Afghan soil. He has repeatedly said the world should instead incentivize the Taliban as they need more to govern the nation. However, the prime minister does not have many backers as many countries who had welcomed the Taliban’s initial messages are evaluating their engagement and recognition of the Taliban based on their actions.
Their actions have no far not been as the world had hoped for and have even raised concerns they may slowly revert to the harsh laws under its previous rule. A Taliban co-founder has said they will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though not in public. In another incident, the bodies of four alleged kidnappers were publically hung in Herat city without trial. With regards to inclusivity, the Taliban rulers have named hardline commanders to key Afghan posts.
PM Khan has urged the world to incentivize the Taliban to go in this direction so that Afghan soil is not used by terrorists. The onus also lies with the Taliban to show that it can be relied upon and engage with them. This is a critical time for Afghanistan as it risks an economic and health sector collapse. The world needs to find a win-win situation for the sake of the Afghan people who are the most affected by the worsening situation.