Pakistan's Khan says US 'really messed up' in Afghanistan

Pakistan PM Khan says US 'really messed it up' in Afghanistan
2 min read
28 July, 2021
Speaking to US TV station PBS, Imran Khan said Pakistan is being scapegoated for what is unfolding in Afghanistan.
Pakistani President Khan said the US 'messed up' in Afghanistan [Getty]

The United States "really messed it up in Afghanistan", said Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in an interview aired on Tuesday evening.

Khan spoke to PBS to discuss the US’s handling of Afghanistan over the last 20 years, and President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw his troops from the country amid a growing Taliban threat.

In response to interviewer Judy Woodruff's comment that  Pakistan "stands accused by the US and Afghanistan of supporting Taliban insurgents", Khan said he was "disappointed" that Pakistan was being "blamed for what is going on in Afghanistan".

He said: “I think the US has really messed it up in Afghanistan.

"They tried to look for a military solution in Afghanistan, when there never was one. And people like me who kept saying that there's no military solution, who know the history of Afghanistan, we were called — people like me were called anti-American. I was called Taliban Khan."

He went on to add: "When they finally decided that there is no military solution, unfortunately, the bargaining power of the Americans or the NATO forces had gone. When there were 150,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, that was the time to go for a political solution.

"But once they had reduced the troops to barely 10,000, and then, when they gave an exit date, the Taliban thought they had won. And so, therefore, it was very difficult for now to get them to compromise. It's very difficult to force them into a political solution, because they think that they won."

Pakistan earlier this month partially opened a border it had shut with Afghanistan when militants captured Spin Boldak from Afghan government forces.

Perspectives

According to Reuters, over 100 trucks carrying supplies have crossed over from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

However, the Pakistani leader denied that he was providing support to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani alleged that more than 10,000 "Jihadi fighters" had crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan, which Khan strongly dismissed as "absolute nonsense".

"There are camps of 100,000 people. And Taliban are not some military outfit. They are normal civilians," Khan said. "And if there are some civilians in these camps, how is Pakistan supposed to hunt these people down? How can you call them sanctuaries?"