Prime Minister Imran Khan. File photo In the Washington Post editorial, Prime Minister Imran Khan outlines Pakistan’s priorities in Afghanistan. Said that Pakistan has suffered too much from the wars in Afghanistan. Adds that Islamabad wants a peaceful Afghanistan that would be beneficial for the whole region.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, wrote that Pakistan is ready to be a US partner for peace in Afghanistan, but will not host US bases and will avoid risking a new conflict.
The Prime Minister highlighted the risks of giving military bases to the United States, which he said will bring more destruction to the country.
Amid the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the United States is looking for options to closely monitor the region and is talking with other countries about it. Pakistan, however, told the United States it would not lay down its foundations and reiterated Islamabad’s commitment to Afghan peace.
“If Pakistan agreed to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan, and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would again be targeted for revenge by terrorists. We just cannot afford it. We have already paid too high a price, ”he said.
He said Pakistan and the United States have the same interest in this long-suffering country: political settlement, stability, economic development and the denial of any safe haven for terrorists.
Stating that Pakistan has no favorites in Afghanistan, he insisted on a negotiated settlement of the conflict and the inclusion of the Afghan Taliban in any form of government for its success.
“Our country has suffered so much from the wars in Afghanistan. Over 70,000 Pakistanis have been killed. While the United States provided 20 billion dollars in aid, the losses to the Pakistani economy exceeded 150 billion dollars, ”he wrote.
Recalling his opposition to Pakistan joining the US-led war, the prime minister said the country was “targeted as a collaborator, leading to terrorism against our country by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other groups “.
“The US drone attacks, which I warned against, did not win the war, but they created hatred among Americans, swelling the ranks of terrorist groups against our two countries.”
Prime Minister Khan has warned of the dangers of yet another civil war in the war-torn country in case a political settlement is not found.
“There are over 3 million Afghan refugees in our country – if there is a new civil war, instead of a political settlement, there will be many more refugees, further destabilizing and impoverishing the border areas to our country. border. Most of the Taliban are from the Pashtun ethnic group, and more than half of the Pashtuns live on our side of the border. We are even now closing this historically open border almost completely. “
Arguing against granting military bases to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for action in Afghanistan, he said if the United States, with the most powerful military machine in history, could not win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how does America do it from the bases in Pakistan?
The Prime Minister also mentioned the dividends the region would get after the peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s desire to increase trade and connectivity with Central Asia for economic recovery.
“That is why we have made a lot of great diplomatic efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, first with the Americans, then with the Afghan government,” the prime minister wrote, highlighting Pakistan’s efforts to peace.
“We know that if the Taliban try to declare a military victory, it will lead to endless bloodshed. We hope that the Afghan government will also show more flexibility in the talks and stop blaming Pakistan, because we are doing everything we can unless there is military action. “
The prime minister added that all of Afghanistan’s neighbors and regional powers want peace and stability in the country.
“Further military action is futile. If we share this responsibility, Afghanistan, once synonymous with the “Great Game” and regional rivalries, could rather emerge as a model of regional cooperation, ”he concluded.
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