Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the United States sees Pakistan as useful only in the context of the “mess” it is leaving behind in Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the United States sees Pakistan as useful only in the context of the “mess” it is leaving behind in Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting. The remark came after the US’ pressure on Islamabad has been growing to use its leverage to press the Taliban to agree on a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.
Speaking to a group of foreign journalists, Khan said, “Pakistan is just considered only to be useful in the context of somehow settling this mess which has been left behind after 20 years of trying to find a military solution when there was no one.”
The swift Taliban offensive, even before the completion of US troops withdrawal, has pushed the country to the brink of a humanitarian disaster, with around a million people have been displaced internally as the result of the increased violence.
Ever since the Biden administration took charge in the US, Islamabad has been pushing for a renewed relationship with the US, shifting focus from geo-strategic to geoeconomic. Its leadership has also pushed to decouple its relations with the US from the Afghanistan issue.
However, efforts got a cold response from Washington, whose past experience, despite the duo being major allies, is marred by trust deficit and contradictory strategic interests. In a recent visit to the US, Pakistan National Security Advisor Mooed Yusuf had even accused the US of ignoring Pakistani leadership.
Khan is among few leaders in the world, Biden hasn’t spoken to on phone since taking office.
Khan also said, “I think that the Americans have decided that India is their strategic partner now, and I think that’s why there’s a different way of treating Pakistan now.”
In Afghanistan, he reiterated that there are no favorites among them for Pakistan and his country preferred a political solution. “The condition is that as long as [President] Ashraf Ghani is there, we (Taliban) are not going to talk to the Afghan government,” Mr. Khan said, quoting the Taliban leaders as telling him.
Despite the efforts of the US and Qatar, peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government made no progress. Meanwhile, the insurgent group extended their control to almost 65 percent of the territory in Afghanistan.
At least nine provincial capitals are under the control of the Taliban and eleven more capitals are being threatened by them.