Imran Khan says Taliban won't talk to Afghan govt until Ashraf Ghani remains President
- Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he tried to persuade a Taliban delegation for a political settlement when they visited Islamabad a few months back.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the Taliban won’t return to the negotiation table for a political settlement as long as Ashraf Ghani remains the president of Afghanistan. Talking to foreign journalists at his residence, Khan said he tried to persuade the Islamist fundamentalist group when a delegation visited Islamabad to discuss peace negotiations a few months back.
"I tried to persuade the Taliban... three to four months back when they came here," Pakistan's The News International quoted Imran Khan as saying.
"The condition is that as long as Ashraf Ghani is there, we (Taliban) are not going to talk to the Afghan government," he added.
The Taliban has taken control of the 10th Afghan provincial capital within a week and continues to make rapid gains as US-led troops finalise their pullout. The United States has expressed concerns that Kabul might fall to the Taliban within three months, reported the Washington Post quoting a government official.
Pakistan has been long accused of assisting the Taliban militarily, financially and with intelligence, which Islamabad has vehemently denied. Afghan people recently started a social media campaign blaming Pakistan for the deteriorating situation in the war-torn country.
While Imran Khan has criticised the US for hasty withdrawal from the region, it is not willing to provide bases to US troops for future operations.
“Pakistan is just considered only to be useful in the context of somehow settling this mess which has been left behind after 20 years of trying to find a military solution when there was not one,” Khan said.
(With inputs from agencies)