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Connect the World

Imran Khan: Taliban Want International Acceptability; Pakistan PM Imran Khan: Situation in Afghanistan is "Worrying"; Imran Khan: Islamabad has "Very Strong Relationship" with China; Pakistan`s Challenges Amid the Upheaval in Afghanistan; Top Gymnasts Testify on FBI Failures to Investigate Nassar Abuse. Aired 11-11:14a ET

Aired September 15, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: For those who`ve been with us last hour welcome back and to those of you who are just joining us. This is a

Special Edition of "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live from Islamabad in Pakistan.

In the last month since the Taliban took over in Afghanistan questions have lingered as to what role Pakistan will play in the future? The two share a

long border and a long history of not getting along on issues like trade and security. Despite that many believe Pakistan`s government is secretly

been supporting the Taliban during the war there.

Specifically Pakistan`s Intelligence Service has reportedly given financial and military support. Well, that support has not played well on the streets

of Afghanistan. Just last week, protesters chanted death to Pakistan in Kabul.

Well meanwhile, Pakistan feeling the heat of living next door to the Taliban, the United Nations estimates nearly 2.5 million Afghans have

crossed the border into Pakistan, trying to flee the new rulers of their homeland.

Well, amid the backdrop of this dramatic past month here in this region, I sat down earlier today talked with Pakistan`s Prime Minister Imran Khan for

his first interview since the Taliban took power, a big focus of our interview Afghanistan`s future under this latest version of Taliban rule.

And we specifically talked about the area of women`s rights.

The Prime Minister had some very pointed comments on that subject, which you will hear in a moment. But I started by asking him about the current

situation in Afghanistan and what he thinks could happen in the weeks and months ahead?


ANDERSON (on camera): Prime Minister Imran Khan thank you very much indeed for joining us today. We speak a month after the collapse of the Afghan

government and the takeover of the Taliban. How would you describe the situation in Afghanistan today?

IMRAN KAHN, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: I think it`s worrying -- Afghanistan is on a historic crossroads. One, if it goes well, and we pray that this

works in the direction of peace after 40 years in Afghanistan, if this Taliban hold all of Afghanistan and if they can sort of now worked with an

inclusive government, get all the factions together. Afghanistan could have peace after 40 years.

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

unstable of Afghanistan. And the reason why the U.S. came in was to fight terrorism or international terrorist so unstable of Afghanistan refugee

crisis, and the possibility of, again, terrorism from Afghanistan`s soil.

ANDERSON (on camera): This interim government is not an inclusive government. The concerns of so many around the world are for the future of

Afghanistan and its people under a Taliban government, which is notorious for its misogyny, and its violence against women.

There is no evidence to date have any interest in providing basic human rights, particularly for women and children. How concerned are you about


KHAN: Where Afghanistan goes from her? I`m afraid none of us can predict. We can hope and pray that the peace after 40 years, that the Taliban what

they - what they have said that they want an inclusive government; they want women - women rights.

In their own context they want human rights. They`ve given amnesty. So far, what they have said, clearly they want an international acceptability. But

there`s another fallacy Afghanistan cannot be controlled by outside. They have a history. No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the

people. It gets discredited amongst the people.

So rather than sitting here and thinking that we can sort of 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.


KHAN: So we should incentivize them. Push them on the right direction.

ANDERSON (on camera): If it seeks legitimacy, it will need to show evidence that it shares the values of those that it is seeking legitimacy for that

being the West, for example. I grew up watching you, as a star of Pakistan`s cricket team, the Taliban have said that women shouldn`t play

cricket. In fact, they`ve said women shouldn`t be involved in sport at all.

This is the sort of Taliban that we are seeing today. Do you support that? I mean, women have been protesting about more inclusivity about their

rights. We know women, firsthand experience women are too frightened to come out their homes. They`re too frightened to go to the workplace, if

they`re allowed at all. Do you support their calls?

KHAN: I feel very strongly that it`s a mistake to think that someone from outside will give Afghanistan women rights. Afghanistan women are strong;

give them time they will get their rights.

ANDERSON (on camera): Should women have access to the same roles in public and in private life?

KHAN: Of course, women - women should have the ability in a society to fulfill their potential in life, the society --

ANDERSON (on camera): You won`t be able to support a Taliban government that doesn`t allow that. Is that what you`re telling me?

KHAN: No, no. What I`m saying is that you cannot impose women`s rights from abroad.


ANDERSON: From women`s rights or lack thereof in Afghanistan to Pakistan`s national security and its current relations with the U.S. which you may

find surprising, given the Prime Minister`s very strong comments about what he perceives to be American ignorance about this region? That full

interview will be online after this show.

Well, joining me now is Fahd Husain, Editor and Columnist for "The Dawn Newspaper" here in Islamabad. And in an article last month, he wrote and I

quote, over the years, the Pakistani state has garnered a number of failures, but none, as it turns out today, as glaring and as painful

inability in capacity in competence in telling its own story, this failure is yet again, on display, and the state is clueless how to address it.

You don`t hold back, sir? And is it the narrative? Is it the message? Or is it actually the policy that is a problem here? Explain what you meant?

FAHD HUSAIN, EDITOR & COLUMNIST, DAWN NEWSPAPER: Well, thank you. See, I think the policy has changed over the years. Pakistan has made a lot of

mistakes in the past decades. And we`ve paid for it and you know, in a number of ways, not only the government, but the people the society.

You know, in the 80s, I mean, I was growing up. So I know you know how this society changed radicalization, drugs, gun running, et cetera. So I think

Pakistan has learned from those times. And now, you know, second time when all of this is happening, I do believe that, you know, whatever, I`ve

spoken to people in positions of decision making, there is a realization that this time around, we need to act differently.

And I believe we are, but we`ve got a bad repute. And that`s where my point came in what you just quoted. My point was that even when Pakistan is

trying to do the right thing, it is being accused of crimes that it may have done decades ago. And that change Pakistan is not being able to

communicate the present context, the changed environment and the new focus.

ANDERSON: And this goes all the way to the top, of course, because Imran Khan I talked today about why he believed it was that the U.S. President

hasn`t called their major non-NATO ally but sits next door to a country that the US has been involved in a war for 20 years. He hasn`t called him

during this crisis.

Joe Biden hasn`t called the Prime Minister since he took office and I put it to the Prime Minister. He believed that is a snap. A whip as it were to

say, listen, you`ve been supporting the Taliban according to the U.S., these Taliban have killed well terrorists have killed us troops. So you`re

not getting that call. It goes right to the top, doesn`t it?

HUSAIN: It does. But here`s the irony. Pakistan is being accused of doing those things which it had done in the past and paid for it. But strangely,

and ironically, I think the U.S. is repeating the mistakes that it did in the early 90s when it walked away.

Pakistan is a key player right now. It is the most affected country and has the most to lose. So I think ignoring Pakistan at this particular point,

you know it - I think it reeks of not only short sightedness, but a little loss of memory also.


ANDERSON: I`ve been speaking to people here and around the world who say, there`s a really interesting dynamic between Pakistan and China at present,

just as there is such rocky relations between Beijing and Washington. So Pakistan has a good open dialogue with China.

Given the deterioration in relations between here and Washington is Pakistan getting pushed into China`s arms at this point? And if so, is that

a problem? Let me just run you some sound. I put that question to the Prime Minister, just hold on.


KHAN: Our relationship with China goes back 70 years. It`s a very strong relationship. It was Pakistan, which opened the doors of the U.S. to China

in 1970 when we -- when Dr. Henry Kissinger was introduced to China or we were the go between.

So I mean our China relationship is not dependent on what it is with U.S. We would like a normal relationship with the U. S. I repeat like it as with



ANDERSON: There are there are folks in Washington, who will say is Pakistan taking sides? Is it choosing China over the U.S. for its future economic


HUSAIN: I think it is framing the whole situation in the wrong way. Pakistan doesn`t need to and shouldn`t choose. I think it requires China;

it has an old long standing solid relationship and is translating into solid economic relationship.

Pakistan equally requires America and vice versa. So I think Pakistan at the highest level, really wants to balance this relationship. You know, if

you look at from Pakistan`s point of view, it doesn`t make sense to take sides between two superpowers where in this region, both are invested, both

have the interests, and both can use - can have a solid relationship with Pakistan.

So I think the whole point about, you know, framing Pakistan into one side or the other, is just putting it wrongly and if somebody in the U.S. or

somewhere else is trying to push Pakistan, or color Pakistan into the Chinese camp, I think it`s the wrong way to look at it.

ANDERSON: Were you interested to hear or you may have heard it before when the Prime Minister suggests that and what he`s looking for out of the

relationship with Washington, going forward is not the Pakistan is regarded as a gun for hire, as he suggested, but he wants a more multi layered

relationship. And he said, like that of China, your thoughts?

HUSAIN: China is a good example for Pakistan to --

ANDERSON: I`m sorry he said India. Go on.

HUSAIN: OK. Well, I mean, you know, India, of course, has a different kind of relationship with the U.S. With Pakistan, the relationship has been

rocky, very close at some points and very transactional at other points, but at this particular moment, if you were somebody in Washington, if you

were somebody sitting in the White House, and looking towards the side, you would see that Afghanistan is now become - could become a problem, not just

for the region, but for, you know, beyond the region.

And therefore, if the world has to stabilize Afghanistan, which we must, then Pakistan is the best gateway to go into that problem and solve it. My

point is, it is, you know, it is more time to fix the blame. It is time to fix the situation. And Pakistan is part of that solution.

ANDERSON: Imran Khan said he wants to be part of the solution for peace, not the conflict going forward. We will see how the U.S. deals with what it

describes as its reassessing of its relationship with Pakistan. You will, I know cover that in the job that you do and so will I. Thank you very much

indeed for joining us today.

HUSAIN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: It`s been an absolute pleasure having you on. I want to get you to Capitol Hill in Washington now, where a Senate Judiciary Committee

hearing is underway. Senators are examining an inspector general`s report of how the FBI handled investigations into Former USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry

Nasser. I just want you to get a listen in as some of the American gymnasts are testifying.