ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan has attacked the Afghan and Western governments for making Pakistan the scapegoat for the outcome of the war in Afghanistan.
The prime minister in an opinion piece for the Washington Post wrote: âLooking at the recent congressional hearings on Afghanistan, I was surprised to see that no mention was made of Pakistan’s sacrifices in as an ally of the United States in the war on terror for more than two decades. Instead, we were blamed for America’s loss â.
âLet me say it clearly. Since 2001, I have said over and over again that the war in Afghanistan is impossible to win. Given their history, Afghans would never accept a prolonged foreign military presence, and no foreigner, including Pakistan, could change this reality, âhe said.
Addressing previous Pakistani governments, he said that “successive Pakistani governments after 9/11 have sought to please the United States instead of pointing out the error of a military-dominated approach.”
Desperate for global relevance and national legitimacy, Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf accepted all US requests for military support after 9/11. It has cost Pakistan and the United States dearly, he added.
He noted that the United States supported the Afghan Taliban in the 1980s. âAt the time, these Afghans were hailed as freedom fighters fulfilling a sacred duty. President Ronald Reagan even entertained the Mujahedin in the White House, âhe said.
âAfter the Soviets were defeated, the United States abandoned Afghanistan and sanctioned my country, leaving behind over 4 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and a bloody civil war in Afghanistan. From this security vacuum emerged the Taliban, many of whom were born and educated in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, âthe Prime Minister wrote.
“Fast forward to September 11, when the United States needed us again – but this time against the very actors we jointly supported to fight foreign occupation,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said .
He said Musharraf offered Washington logistics and air bases, allowed a CIA footprint in Pakistan and even turned a blind eye to US drones bombarding Pakistanis on our soil.
He lamented the way Pakistani army troops were sent to the semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, âwhich had previously served as a breeding ground for anti-Soviet jihad. The fiercely independent Pashtun tribes in these regions had deep ethnic ties. with the Taliban, âhe wrote.
The Prime Minister highlighted how 16,000 terrorist attacks were carried out against Pakistan by more than 50 militant groups, which saw the United States and Pakistan as collaborators, during the period from 2005 to 2016.
âWe have suffered over 80,000 casualties and lost over $ 150 billion in the economy. The conflict has driven 3.5 million of our citizens from their homes. launching even more attacks against us, “he said.
Prime Minister criticized former President Asif Ali Zardari, calling him “arguably the most corrupt man to have ruled my country”, accusing him of not worrying about collateral damage from drone strikes Americans. He said former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was no different from Zardari.
He went on to explain why the situation in Afghanistan has become messy, despite an improvement in Pakistan after the military attack on militants in 2016.
“In Afghanistan, the lack of legitimacy of a protracted foreign war has been compounded by a corrupt and inept Afghan government seen as a puppet regime with no credibility, especially by rural Afghans,” he wrote. .
âTragically, instead of facing this reality, the Afghan and Western governments have created a convenient scapegoat by blaming Pakistan, falsely accusing us of providing safe havens for the Taliban and allowing their free movement across our border. Had it been, would the United States have the States not used some of the more than 450 drone strikes to target these so-called sanctuaries? “
Prime Minister Khan explained the measures taken by Pakistan to satisfy Kabul, adding that Islamabad had proposed to Kabul various measures to secure the border, but every idea was rejected.
âInstead, the Afghan government has escalated the ‘blame Pakistan’ narrative, aided by Indian-run fake news networks that operate hundreds of propaganda media in several countries,â he said.
He said negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government should have started much earlier in order to avoid the embarrassing collapse of the Afghan army and the government led by Ashraf Ghani.
“Pakistan is certainly not to blame for the fact that over 300,000 well-trained and well-equipped Afghan security forces saw no reason to fight the lightly armed Taliban. The underlying problem was an Afghan government structure. lacking legitimacy in the eyes of the average Afghan, âhe added.
He said the “right thing” for the world to do now would be to engage with the new Afghan government, adding that if they were assured of constant humanitarian aid, the Taliban would have a greater incentive to honor the demands of the government. the global community.
âProviding such incentives will also give the outside world additional leverage to continue to persuade the Taliban to honor their commitments,â he wrote.
âIf we do this right, we could achieve what the Doha peace process aimed at from the start: an Afghanistan that is no longer a threat to the world, where Afghans can finally dream of peace after four decades of conflict. The alternative – to abandon Afghanistan – has already been judged, “the Pakistani prime minister warned.
As in the 1990s, this will inevitably lead to a collapse. Chaos, massive migration and a renewed threat of international terror will be its natural corollaries. Avoiding this must surely be our global imperative. “