Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, poking at the US, has said Washington only sees Pakistan as “useful” for cleaning up the “junk” it left behind in Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting and prefers India when it comes to forming a “Strategic Collaboration”.
Afghanistan has seen an increase in Taliban violence following US President Joe Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal of US and NATO forces on August 31.
“Pakistan is only considered useful in the context of somehow solving this mess left behind after 20 years of trying to find a military solution when there was none,” Imran Khan told foreign journalists at his home. in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Imran Khan said that since the US decided to have a “strategic partnership” with India, Washington treated Pakistan differently, according to a journalist who attended the meeting, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
Islamabad is unhappy that Joe Biden has not spoken to Imran Khan since he assumed the US presidency in January.
Pakistani National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf recently expressed disappointment at President Biden’s reluctance to contact Prime Minister Khan, despite seeing Islamabad as a key country on a number of critical issues such as Afghanistan.
Yousuf also said Islamabad has other “options” if the US leader continues to ignore the country’s leadership.
However, the US State Department had assured Islamabad that Washington recognizes Pakistan’s crucial role in restoring peace in Afghanistan and wants Islamabad to play that role.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone this week with Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.
Following the call, the Pentagon said the US was holding talks with Pakistani leaders about the need to close safe havens for Taliban terrorists along the Afghan-Pakistan border, which are adding to insecurity and instability in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan and the US have criticized Pakistan in the past for allowing Taliban terrorists to enter Pakistan, where they are given safe havens and also receive medical treatment.
During the meeting with foreign journalists, Imran Khan said a political solution to the Afghan problem was difficult as the Taliban was not willing to talk to the government of Kabul as long as President Ashraf Ghani is there.
He said the Taliban had told him during a visit that the Ghanaian government would be a “puppet”.
“On the condition that as long as Ashraf Ghani is there, we (Taliban) will not talk to the Afghan government,” Imran Khan was quoted as saying by the Taliban.
Imran Khan has taken a strong stance on the hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, leaving the country in a chaotic situation.
Prime Minister Khan also reiterated that Pakistan would not supply bases to US forces after the withdrawal. Although it was unclear whether the US has formally requested the facility.
Pakistan has said it has used its influence over the Taliban to incite the insurgents into talks with the US and the Afghan government to find a political solution to the crisis.
Imran Khan said last month that the US “really screwed up” in Afghanistan when he questioned the US motive for the 2001 invasion of the country and subsequently their subsequent attempts to find a political solution with the Taliban from a position of weakness.