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Imran Khan says Pashtuns are Taliban-sympathisers, leaders react

Imran Khan said three million Pashtuns are still there in Pakistan as refugees. ‘They do attack Pakistan,’ Imran Khan said drawing flak for spreading ‘misinformation’ about Pashtuns. 
Imran Khan said Pashtun nationalism is very strong and the Pashtuns in Pakistan are Taliban sympathisers. 
Published on Sep 25, 2021 04:36 PM IST
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Elaborating how Pakistan has suffered being caught between Afghanistan and the United States, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at his United Nations speech said the Pashtuns living in the semi-autonomous tribal belt along the Afghanistan and Pakistan border always had affinity and sympathy towards the Taliban.

"Pakistan and the United States trained Mujahideen groups to fight for the liberation of Afghanistan. Amongst those Mujahideen groups were al Qaeda, were various groups from all over the world..these were considered heroes," Imran Khan said.

"Come 1989, the Soviets leave. So do the Americans.. Pakistan was left with 5 million Afghan refugees. We were left with sectarian militant groups which never existed before. And a year later, Pakistan was sanctioned by the US. We felt used," Imran Khan said.

Imran Khan says world should give Taliban more time, US misunderstood Haqqanis

"Fast forward 9/11. Pakistan is needed again by the US because now they are invading Afghanistan and that can't happen with the logistical support of Pakistan. What happens after that? The same Mujahideen that we have trained that fighting for occupation was a sacred duty, they turned against us. We were called collaborators," the Pakistan PM said.

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People in the bordering areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan had a strong sympathy with the Afghan Taliban "not because of any religious ideology but because of Pashtun nationalism, which is very strong, Khan said, adding that there are three million Afghan refugees still in Pakistan who all are Pashtuns, living in camps. "They all have affinity and sympathies with the Afghan Taliban. They do turn against Pakistan. For the first time, we have militant Taliban in Pakistan," the Prime Minister said.

Pashtun Tahafuz Movement leader Mohsin Dawar took to Twitter and said this is misinformation that the Prime Minister is spreading on an international platform. "Just shocked at how the PM of Pakistan can describe Taliban as Pashtun nationalists. The Taliban is a project of Pakistan's Generals for decimating Pashtun identity. Does the PM really think that the world is so uninformed that he can sell such lies on the UNGA forum?" he tweeted.

In an earlier interview with CNN, Imran Khan had said that the Haqqani network is the Pashtun tribe living in Afghanistan.

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