Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the country had committed one of the biggest mistakes by joining the United States in the war against terrorism after the September 11 attacks by the Al Qaeda militant group, PTI reported. Khan said previous governments in Islamabad “should not have pledged what they could not deliver” and added that 70,000 Pakistanis were killed as the country’s economic growth took a hit.
Khan claimed that the militants were created in the 1980s when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Inter-Services Intelligence had trained people, who were invited from all the Muslim countries to “do jihad against the Soviets”, the prime minister said at a Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York, United States.
“And so we created these militant groups to fight the Soviets...jihadis were heroes then,” he said. “Come 1989, Soviets leave Afghanistan, the US packs up and leaves Afghanistan...and we were left with these groups.”
“Then comes 9/11, and Pakistan again joins the US in the war on terror and now we are required to go after these groups as terrorists,” Khan said. “They [militants] were indoctrinated that fighting foreign occupation is jihad but now when the US arrived in Afghanistan, it was supposed to be terrorism.”
Islamabad should have taken a neutral stand in the conflict between the United States and the militants, he added, referring to then military leader General Pervez Musharraf’s decision to support the United States. Khan claimed there could not be a military solution to the situation in Afghanistan and said he would ask United States President Donald Trump to restart peace talks.
Speaking about Pakistan’s weak economic condition, Khan said he had inherited “the biggest current account deficit” in the nation’s history, which had made his first year difficult. He also thanked China for helping out and for providing opportunities to “lift ourselves up from where we are right now”.
India Pakistan ties
On India and Pakistan’s relationship, Khan said his administration had waited to speak to the Indian government but then found out the India was “pushing us in the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force to bankrupt us”. He added that through its unilateral actions in Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi had disregarded the United Nations Security Council, the Simla accord and the Indian Constitution.
“That’s when I said this is an RSS agenda which they are following,” Khan said, according to Dawn. “I worry now where the two countries are.” The prime minister reiterated that when two nuclear-armed nations engaged in a conflict, “anything can happen”. He also said that he would urge the United Nations to play an active role in the dispute.
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