ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan must not be blamed for the outcome of war in Afghanistan and for the losses of the United States and stressed on setting eyes on the future to avoid another conflict instead of sticking with the blame game.
“Today, with Afghanistan at another crossroads, we must look to the future to prevent another violent conflict in that country rather than perpetuating the blame game of the past,” he said in his article published in the Washington Post on Monday.
Imran Khan said surely, Pakistan was not to blame for the fact that “300,000-plus well-trained and equipped Afghan security forces saw no reason to fight the lightly-armed Taliban”.
The underlying problem, he said, was an Afghan government structure lacking legitimacy in the eyes of the average Afghan.
He also expressed “surprise” over the recent Congressional hearings on Afghanistan, where “no mention was made of Pakistan’s sacrifices as a US ally in the war on terror for over two decades”. “Instead, we were blamed for America’s loss,” he added.
Khan recalled that since 2001, he repeatedly warned that the “Afghan war was unwinnable” and pointed that given their history, Afghans would never accept a protracted foreign military presence.
Even an outsider including Pakistan could not change this reality, he added.
The prime minister said unfortunately, the successive Pakistani governments after 9/11 sought to please the US instead of pointing out the error of a military-dominated approach.
“Desperate for global relevance and domestic legitimacy, Pakistan’s military dictator Pervez Musharraf agreed to every American demand for military support after 9/11. This cost Pakistan, and the US, dearly,” he said.
Imran Khan said the people the US asked Pakistan to target, included the groups trained jointly by the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
“Back then, the Afghans were hailed as freedom fighters performing a sacred duty. President Reagan even entertained the Mujahideen at the White House,” he said.
The prime minister pointed out that after the defeat of the Soviets, the US abandoned Afghanistan and sanctioned Pakistan, leaving behind over five million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and a bloody civil war in Afghanistan.
“From this security vacuum emerged the Taliban, many born and educated in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan,” he said.