Blaming Pakistan for Taliban takeover 'illogical': PM Imran

If Pakistan helped Taliban then it would mean Pakistan was stronger than US and its European allies, says premier


APP September 18, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan to strengthen national unity and create long term stability in the war-torn country.

“We think that in the interest of Afghanistan and for long term stability an inclusive government should be formed to strengthen unity there," he said in an interview to Russia Today on Friday.

Pakistan, the premier said, is working with the neighbours of Afghanistan to determine what the Afghan government should do so the international community could recognise it.

The important step would be the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, he stressed. "Afghanistan is a diverse country but the Taliban are a Pashtun movement and Pashtuns are half of the population."

Also read: Pakistan, Russia, China urge US to engage with Taliban, fund aid to Afghanistan

“However, there are also Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras who are in a large number.”

He said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit meeting was important because it was attended by almost all the neighbours of Afghanistan. At present, the issue of Afghanistan is important for the whole region.

"Afghanistan is at historic crossroads and either it will move towards stability after wars for four decades or it will go in a wrong direction and chaos and huge humanitarian and refugee crises will be created and it will affect all the neighbours of Afghanistan," he continued.

PM Imran also said that Pakistan is part of the international community and the recognition of the Taliban government in Afghanistan would be a significant step.

Fear of terrorism from Afghan soil

From the standpoint of Pakistan, he said that terrorism is also feared from Afghanistan because previously three terrorist groups were using Afghan soil for terrorism in Pakistan.

Also read: Time to acknowledge Afghanistan's 'new reality', says PM at SCO

To a question, he said if it is considered that Pakistan helped the Taliban against the United States then it would mean that Pakistan is stronger than the US and all the European countries and Pakistan along with a 60,000 to 70,000 men militia carrying light weapons succeeded in defeating an army of 300,000 troops.

Unfortunately, a propaganda campaign was started against Pakistan, he asserted. "It [propaganda] was started to divert attention from the incapacity, corruption and lack of governance by the last Afghanistan government."

The premier said that the majority of people in Afghanistan considered the last government a puppet and there was no respect in the eyes of the Afghans for this government.

Illogical propaganda

The second element in this propaganda was India which had made a huge investment in the Afghan government of Ashraf Ghani, he explained.

India initiated the propaganda but it was illogical, he said, adding that Pakistan had a total budget of $50 billion for its 220 million people.

He said how Pakistan could have aided anyone in this war of resistance that prevailed upon America. “The United States threw in $2 trillion in this war in 20 years. So, all this is propaganda and illogical.”

He wondered how it happened that the 300,000-strong Afghan army did not fight and asked whether Pakistan stopped it from fighting.

Read: China's Xi urges Afghanistan to stamp out terrorism, vows more aid

He said a comprehensive analysis should be done to know the reasons as to why the army of the bravest nation of the world laid down its weapons without a fight.

Relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran

Responding to another query, Premier Imran said that Iran is a neighbour of Pakistan and a civilised relationship with neighbours would promote trade and would be beneficial for the whole region.

Saudi Arabia is the closest ally of Pakistan and a friend which always helped Pakistan, he added. “So we are interested that there should be an understanding between the two countries as a conflict between them would be destructive for the region.”

A dispute between the two countries would impact the petrol prices which already because of Covid and due to drop in supply had gone up, he added.

He was of the view that the oil prices had affected everybody and the increase in prices of edible items would badly impact the poor.

"So not only Pakistan but everybody should make sure that understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran should improve," he added.

 

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