We’re not your ‘hired gun’ anymore, PM Imran tells US

122
PM Imran

WASHINGTON: Pakistan Prime minister Imran Khan in interview with Washington Post has said that Pakistan was no more hired gun of the US, adding that there was no terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan.
To a question about relations with the US, he said, “I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war. We should never put ourselves in this position again. It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity. We would like a proper relationship with the U.S.”
About his response to US president Trump on twitter, the prime minister said “It was not really a Twitter war, it was just setting the record right. The exchange was about being blamed for deeply flawed U.S. policies — the military approach to Afghanistan.
When told that Trump was not blaming the new government but his predecessors, Imran said No, he was saying Pakistan was the reason for these sanctuaries [for Taliban leaders]. There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.
To another question, about presence of Taliban, he said, “When I came into power, I got a complete briefing from the security forces. They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, “Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?” There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.”
When asked Do you believe that? The prime minister replied, “We have 2.7 million Afghan refugees still living in Pakistan. They live in big refugee camps.” He asked that where are these people? “Our border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has the greatest amount of surveillance. The U.S. has satellites and drones. These people crossing would be seen.”
When insisted he said that first, there are no sanctuaries. If there are a few hundred, maybe 2,000 to 3,000 Taliban who move into Pakistan, they could easily move into these Afghan refugee camps.
About peace talks, he said peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest. “We will do everything.” “We will try our best. Putting pressure on the Taliban is easier said than done. Bear in mind that about 40 percent of Afghanistan is now out of the government’s hands.”
About US charges regarding support to Taliban, he said, “I have never understood these accusations. Pakistan had nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. No Pakistani was involved. And yet Pakistan was asked to participate in the U.S. war. There were a lot of people in Pakistan who opposed it, including me. In the 1980s, we collaborated with the U.S. in the Soviet jihad there. Then, in 1989, when the Soviets packed up and left, the U.S. did too. Pakistan was left with militant groups and 4 million Afghan refugees. If we had stayed neutral after 9/11, I reckon we would have saved ourselves from the devastation that took place afterward. By becoming the front-line state for the U.S. in the war on terror, this country went through hell. Over 80,000 people died in the war, and estimates are that over $150 billion was lost in the economy. Investors wouldn’t come, nor would sports teams. Pakistan was known as the most dangerous place in the world.”
“I talked for years about how there was no military solution in Afghanistan, and they called me “Taliban Khan.” If you did not agree with the U.S. policy, you were [thought to be] anti-American. Now I’m happy that everyone realizes there is only a political solution . . . From Pakistan’s point of view, we do not want the Americans to leave Afghanistan in a hurry like they did in 1989.”
Because, he added, the last thing “we want is to have chaos in Afghanistan. There should be a settlement this time. In 1989, what happened was the Taliban emerged out of the chaos.”
About relations with US, he said, “I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war. We should never put ourselves in this position again. It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity. We would like a proper relationship with the U.S.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here