Pakistan joined America's 'War on Terror' for dollars: Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed sorrow for his country's choice to join America's 20-year-long 'War on Terror' in Afghanistan. Describing the war as a "self-inflicted wound," Khan said Pakistan participated "for dollars" and not for the public interest. The decision did not consider Pakistan's own people, said Khan while speaking to officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
Why does it matter?
- Khan's move to speak against America's two-decade-long War on Terror will likely further dent US-Pakistan ties.
- Their relationship has long remained tense and the war was its saving grace.
- With the war over, Khan has made repeated efforts to engage with the new Taliban government.
- The US, however, wants Pakistan to refuse to formally recognize the Taliban administration.
'Cannot blame anyone else but ourselves'
Khan claimed there is no one else to blame for this outcome of the war other than Pakistan. "We ourselves are responsible... as we let [others] use us, sacrificed the reputation of our country for aid," he said, without naming the US. Pakistan suffered 80,000 deaths and $100 billion in losses over the two-decade-long war, Khan has said in the past.
'Pakistan's image improved'
Last week Pakistan organized a summit on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. It was attended by envoys from 57 Islamic nations. "The attendance at the summit and the appreciation of Pakistan's stance [at the moot] reflect that the country's image had improved," said Khan. "Look at statements by Europeans, they are standing with us and the UN, too, has a clear stance," he said.
What did he say about Afghanistan?
Assuring aid to Afghanistan, Khan described the situation there as crucial as the country is experiencing a humanitarian crisis. He said the world should focus on Afghanistan's 40 million civilians instead of whether or not they like the Taliban. It is a "big atrocity... that a man-made crisis is being created" in Afghanistan, he said.
Who is the Taliban?
From 1996 until the US-led invasion in 2001, the Islamic fundamentalist group controlled Afghanistan. It became infamous for harsh applications of sharia, violence, torture, public beheadings, etc. As the US withdrew troops from Afghanistan earlier this year, the Taliban grew powerful and overthrew the Ashraf Ghani left government in August. It has since installed its own government.