Amrullah Saleh says Pakistan is not just a sanctuary for Taliban but their support base
The US blackmailed Afghanistan to release prisoners who have now become Taliban leaders, Amrullah Saleh said, adding that while Afghanistan was under this pressure, the Taliban were receiving direct and indirect support from Pakistan and the United States.
Afghanistan's self-proclaimed acting president Amrullah Saleh has said that Pakistan was not just a sanctuary or safe haven for the Taliban in all these years. The entire country was at the service of the Taliban who used the neighbouring country as their support base. And the United States kept on paying money to Pakistan. The more they paid, the more Pakistanis became benevolent to the Taiban, Amrullah said in an exclusive interview to a television channel on Wednesday when he was asked why the Afghan army crumbled so easily in front of the Taliban offensive.
Pakistan is internationally criticised for having provided sanctuaries to the Taliban in all these years. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has always remained a staunch supporter of a government in Afghanistan that has Taliban participation. In a recent interview, before the fall of Kabul, Imran Khan said that the Taliban are not a military outfit that the Pakistan army can hunt them down. Saleh in his interview claimed that there were not a few pockets or sanctuaries in Pakistan for the Taliban as the entire country was serving the Taliban.
The former vice president, who is now one of the faces of the Panjshir Resistance, the anti-Taliban force of the country along with Ahmad Massoud, said the United States threatened the former Afghanistan government to released the prisoners, who have now ended up being the Taliban frontliners. "We said are you sure that these people will not end up at the frontlines? Their answer was no but they all ended up at the frontlines. So it was not prisoners’ release but gifting Taliban a division of highly radicalised fighters," Saleh told CNN-News18. This holds true for Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was released in 2018 after the United State brokered for his release.
What Amrullah Saleh implied is that while Afghanistan was under the pressure from the United States, the Taliban increased strength making Pakistan their base and receiving indirect help from the United States.
As the anti-Taliban force of Afghanistan is confident to put up a fight against the Taliban, Saleh has recently said that he will not leave Afghanistan and nobody except God can evacuate his soul from the country's soil. "I own Afghanistan & it owns me. We are one. It speaks to me every day," he tweeted.
Amid global criticism of Pakistan's no-secret help to the Taliban, Pakitan leader Neelam Irshad Sheikh has recently said that the Taliban are with Pakistan to help "liberating Kashmir". Unlike Massoud who has no qualms to seek help from Pakistan against the Taliban, Amrullah Saleh is a strong Pakistan-hater. Afghanistan is too big to be swallowed by Pakistan, Saleh recently said.