Does Pak regret supporting US invasion in Afghanistan? Imran Khan says country paid ‘heavy price’
A day after the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) called for an independent, terrorism-free, and peaceful state in Afghanistan, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his country paid a “very heavy price” for siding with the US in its invasion in the now Taliban-captured nation.
He also said that several remarks that have been made by US politicians, including the secretary of state Anthony Blinken, which blame Pakistan for the current situation in Afghanistan, has left Khan “deeply hurt.”
“As a Pakistani, I felt deeply hurt by some of the remarks made by those senators. To blame Pakistan for this debacle in Afghanistan is the most painful thing for us to listen to,” Khan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI based on his interview with Russia’s TV network RT.
Khan believes that committing Pakistan’s support to the American occupation of Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, though helped Pakistan secure US military aid, was still a wrong call.
The Pakistani premier further pointed out that after the American invasion in Afghanistan, and his country’s subsequent support of the same, alienated the mujahideen forces – which the Pakistani intelligence helped in building up only 20 years before as part of the US anti-Soviet campaign. “We have trained them to fight against foreign occupation. It was a holy war, a jihad,” Khan told RT, adding that with the Americans invading, the same Pakistan began telling these mujahideen forces that fighting the US troops was “terrorism.”
“So, they (mujahideen forces) turned against us. They called us collaborators,” he said.
Khan’s remarks come in the backdrop of Blinken being faced with a string of questions after the recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings where several US lawmakers blamed Pakistan for facilitating the Taliban. The lawmakers, regardless of being Democrat or Republican, called for severe action against Islamabad for its inflammatory role in the Taliban’s reoccupation in Afghanistan.
For instance, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, Idaho Republican James Risch and Florida Republican Marco Rubio – all called for “understanding” Pakistan’s role in the current Afghanistan debacle. “We need to understand the double-dealing by Pakistan and providing a safe haven to the Taliban,” Menendez, who is also the chairman of the Foreign Relations committee said.
Blinken, meanwhile, has given a message to Pakistan, telling it to “line up” with the broad majority of nations to force the Taliban regime to uphold the basic rights to Afghans, including women and children.