Pakistan's Khan warns of Afghan civil war

·1-min read

Afghanistan will descend into a civil war if the Taliban fail to form an inclusive government, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned.

"If they do not include all the factions, sooner or later they will have a civil war," Khan said in an interview with BBC Urdu aired late Tuesday.

His comments seem to be the first "tough message" to the militia by a country that has long been accused of backing them.

"That would mean an unstable, chaotic Afghanistan and an ideal place for terrorists. That is a worry."

Khan's comments come as diplomats from Russia, China and Pakistan held a joint meeting with the head of the Taliban administration in Kabul to push for an inclusive government.

The special representatives from Afghanistan's neighbours also met former president Hamid Karzai and leading politician Abdullah Abdullah, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said.

The Taliban on Tuesday announced some new members of the government in the first expansion of their Cabinet, including a few members from ethnic minorities, but no women.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday his country wanted the world to engage with the Taliban to avert a humanitarian crisis, but there was no rush to recognise their government.

The international community and Afghanistan's neighbours are weighing their options to deal with the hard-line Islamists after the Taliban takeover of the country last month.

Khan also urged the Taliban to let Afghan girls continue their study, calling their ban on female secondary and high schools un-Islamic.

"The idea that women should not be educated is just not Islamic. It has nothing to do with religion," Khan said.

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