Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has criticised the US approach towards his country calling Pakistan “hired gun” in its war against the Taliban.
“We (Pakistan) were like a hired gun. We were supposed to make them (the US) win the war in Afghanistan, which we never could,” Khan told CNN in an exclusive interview.
Elaborating on US President Joe Biden’s snub, he added, “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.”
Reacting to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comment that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours,” Khan felt such comments smacked of ignorance. “I have never heard such ignorance. Thousands of Pakistanis lost their lives in terrorist attacks by “militant groups” owing to his country’s support for the US. Just because we sided with the US, we became an ally of the US after 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. The suffering this country went through with at one point there were 50 militant groups attacking our government… on top of it, they must also know there were 480 drone attacks by the US in Pakistan,” he added.
Pakistan has faced severe criticism for providing safe havens to terrorists but the PM denied such claims, “What are these safe havens? 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?”
On Afghanistan, Khan is of the view that it is time to put the best foot forward and incentivise the Taliban on women’s rights and inclusive government.
“The Taliban hold all of Afghanistan and if they can sort of now work towards 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,” Khan said.
And he added, “It’s a mistake to think that someone from outside will give Afghan women rights. Afghan women are strong. Give them time. They will get their rights.Women should have the ability in a society to fulfil their potential in life.”