A day after the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would reassess its relationship with Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan called such comments ignorant, saying he has never heard such ignorance. Khan said the Islamabad was used like a hired gun by America.
In his first interview with the CNN, after the Taliban took over, Khan said the best way forward for peace and stability in Afghanistan is to engage with the Taliban and incentivise them on issues such as women’s rights and inclusive government.
Khan revealed that despite being a non-NATO ally, he has not spoken with US President Joe Biden since the Taliban takeover. He said I would imagine he’s very busy, but our relationship with the US is not just dependent on a phone call, it needs to be a multidimensional relationship, said Khan.
On Taliban, Khan said said that the world should give Taliban time on human rights but fears chaos without aid. He said 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. However, he warned that Afghanistan could not be controlled by outside forces.
No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people, he said. 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.
However, earlier, Pakistan PM had endorsed the Taliban’s advance in the war-torn country, describing it as breaking the shackles of slavery. Now Pakistan wants the world to give some time to understand the Taliban. Khan has also questioned America’s understanding about the same terrorist network Haqqani.
Imran Khan has openly said that ‘the US could never understand the Haqqani network’. Praising the Haqqani network, the former cricketer said- ‘Haqqani is the Pashtun tribe of Pakistan. These people were the Mujahideen who fought the war against the Soviets. Khan was trying to cover up the relationship between Pakistan and Haqqani network.
Meanwhile, commenting on Blinken’s remarks, Khan said Pakistan is now seeking a more pragmatic approach in dealing with Afghanistan”s new leaders. He said we were supposed to make them (the US) win the war in Afghanistan, which we never could.
On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US country will be reassessing its relationship with Pakistan. Blinken was testifying in front of the US foreign affairs committee on the hasty pull-out from the war ravaged country. The US lawmakers said Pakistan’s ISI openly supports Taliban and Haqqani Network, however, it is time to consider stronger relations with India.
Khan has denied US claims that Pakistan harbours terrorists and provide them safe havens.
What are these safe havens? Khan asked. The area of Pakistan along the border of Afghanistan had the heaviest surveillance by the United States drones … surely they would have known if there were any safe havens?
Khan said he cannot destroy his country to fight someone else’s war.