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PM Imran Khan's WaPo OP-Ed: Pakistan is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan, but we will not host U.S. bases

Dil_Pakistan

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Opinion: Imran Khan: Pakistan is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan, but we will not host U.S. bases


Opinion by Imran Khan

June 22, 2021 at 1:57 a.m. GMT+5

Imran Khan is the prime minister of Pakistan.
Pakistan is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan with the United States — but as U.S. troops withdraw, we will avoid risking further conflict.

Our countries have the same interest in that long-suffering country: a political settlement, stability, economic development and the denial of any haven for terrorists. We oppose any military takeover of Afghanistan, which will lead only to decades of civil war, as the Taliban cannot win over the whole of the country, and yet must be included in any government for it to succeed.
In the past, Pakistan made a mistake by choosing between warring Afghan parties, but we have learned from that experience. We have no favorites and will work with any government that enjoys the confidence of the Afghan people. History proves that Afghanistan can never be controlled from the outside.


Our country has suffered so much from the wars in Afghanistan. More than 70,000 Pakistanis have been killed. While the United States provided $20 billion in aid, losses to the Pakistani economy have exceeded $150 billion. Tourism and investment dried up. After joining the U.S. effort, Pakistan was targeted as a collaborator, leading to terrorism against our country from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other groups. U.S. drone attacks, which I warned against, didn’t win the war, but they did create hatred for Americans, swelling the ranks of terrorist groups against both our countries.
While I argued for years that there was no military solution in Afghanistan, the United States pressured Pakistan for the very first time to send our troops into the semiautonomous tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, in the false expectation that it would end the insurgency. It didn’t, but it did internally displace half the population of the tribal areas, 1 million people in North Waziristan alone, with billions of dollars of damage done and whole villages destroyed. The “collateral” damage to civilians in that incursion led to suicide attacks against the Pakistani army, killing many more soldiers than the United States lost in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, while breeding even more terrorism against us. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone, 500 Pakistani policemen were murdered.
There are more than 3 million Afghan refugees in our country — if there is further civil war, instead of a political settlement, there will be many more refugees, destabilizing and further impoverishing the frontier areas on our border. Most of the Taliban are from the Pashtun ethnic group — and more than half the Pashtuns live on our side of the border. We are even now fencing this historically open border almost completely.


If Pakistan were to agree to host U.S. bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan, and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge by terrorists again. We simply cannot afford this. We have already paid too heavy a price. Meanwhile, if the United States, with the most powerful military machine in history, couldn’t win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how would America do it from bases in our country?
The interests of Pakistan and the United States in Afghanistan are the same. We want a negotiated peace, not civil war. We need stability and an end to terrorism aimed at both our countries. We support an agreement that preserves the development gains made in Afghanistan in the past two decades. And we want economic development, and increased trade and connectivity in Central Asia, to lift our economy. We will all go down the drain if there is further civil war.
This is why we have done a lot of real diplomatic heavy lifting to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, first with the Americans, and then with the Afghan government. We know that if the Taliban tries to declare a military victory, it will lead to endless bloodshed. We hope the Afghan government will also show more flexibility in the talks, and stop blaming Pakistan, as we are doing everything we can short of military action.


This is also why we were part of the recent “Extended Troika” joint statements, along with Russia, China and the United States, unambiguously declaring that any effort to impose a government by force in Kabul would be opposed by us all, and also would deprive Afghanistan access to the foreign assistance it will need.
These joint statements mark the first time four of Afghanistan’s neighbors and partners have spoken with one voice on what a political settlement should look like. This could also lead to a new regional compact for peace and development in the region, which could include a requirement to share intelligence and work with the Afghan government to counter emergent terrorist threats. Afghanistan’s neighbors would pledge not to allow their territory to be used against Afghanistan or any other country, and Afghanistan would pledge the same. The compact could also lead to a commitment to help Afghans rebuild their country
I believe that promoting economic connectivity and regional trade is the key to lasting peace and security in Afghanistan. Further military action is futile. If we share this responsibility, Afghanistan, once synonymous with the “Great Game” and regional rivalries, could instead emerge as a model of regional cooperation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...tan-imran-khan-peace-security-cooperation-us/
 

hyperman

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he was very apprehensive on the airspace question though, not saying no, which leads me to believe he would allow the use of "the boulevard"
 

CrazyZ

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PMIK agreeing to USA basing would be political suicide. However, AQ/OBL types plotting attacks against the USA are not good for Pakistan's interests. My sense is that covert cooperation is still on the table if such threats emerge.
 

Dalit

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he was very apprehensive on the airspace question though, not saying no, which leads me to believe he would allow the use of "the boulevard"
You are not getting any access to Pakistani air space. PM Imran Khan has already clarified no military base and no military help in any form or shape.

PMIK agreeing to USA basing would be political suicide. However, AQ/OBL types plotting attacks against the USA are not good for Pakistan's interests. My sense is that covert cooperation is still on the table if such threats emerge.
We are not responsible whatever goes in inside Afghanistan.
 

Trango Towers

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But we should get something in return...

All indirect sanctions lifted.
Access to technology that paksitan requires and no role of India in Afghanistan
 

Dalit

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This is already occurring??
One way exit. When the Americans attack the Taliban through Pak air space you come back and I will eat my words.
But we should get something in return...

All indirect sanctions lifted.
Access to technology that paksitan requires and no role of India in Afghanistan
The Americans want free lunch. Haven't you learnt after so many years. They keep reminding Pakistan about the 20 billion. Technology? LOL Do you even realise how the Americans approach Pakistan? USAID is the best Pakistan will ever get. The Americans aren't interested in a proper long term civilised relationship. They want to exploit Pakistan and dump it like they have always intended.

Which country openly demands for their spying agency to operate through military bases in another country? Give me one example. Just one. We are absolute fools to trade sovereignty and regional prosperity for some American BS.

This is the only chance Pakistan will ever get to redeem itself. There is a window of opportunity. All regional countries are on one page. Don't partner with a backstabbing swine that has always meant harm. Put region first. Smile and nod with the Americans, but always do what needs to be done behind the scenes.

Pakistan will be finished if it takes US side. Nothing will be left of Pakistan.
 
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hyperman

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You are not getting any access to Pakistani air space. PM Imran Khan has already clarified no military base and no military help in any form or shape.
did you actually bother to watch the axios interview? here let me give you a link.
notice how first he tries dodging the question, but then asked again he squirms and doesn't give a straight answer when pressed, saying "this hasn't been discussed" when asked "what is your feeling about that"? he says "I don't know, we will discuss this".

a very different answer from the Absolutely Not that he replied with, with regards to bases inside Pakistan.
 

Dalit

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did you actually bother to watch the axios interview? here let me give you a link.
notice how first he tries dodging the question, but then asked again he squirms and doesn't give a straight answer when pressed, saying "this hasn't been discussed" when asked "what is your feeling about that"? he says "I don't know, we will discuss this".

a very different answer from the Absolutely Not that he replied with, with regards to bases inside Pakistan.
Your clutching at straws. Stop fooling yourself. You won't get anything. No military bases and no air space. You sound very desperate.

Pakistan has categorically denied military bases and access to air space. No military solution. Only political settlement.
 

hyperman

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Your clutching at straws.
I'm noting obvious context, why are you so defensive. There is nothing fool anyone about. its simple context, see the difference in replies. why does he bend over backwards first to dodge the question, they trying to say it hasn't been discussed and that he doesn't know. all he had to do was say No, clearly and directly.

did you even bother to look at the video i linked?
Pakistan has categorically denied military bases and access to air space.
where is the categorical denial over airspace? source? b/c I've been looking for it for months, and even here Imran Khan stats getting coy about things.

some of you people are complete political hacks, anyone objectively looking at his answer can see the difference in tone, between when he was asked about bases vs when he was asked about airspace.
 

Dalit

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I'm noting obvious context, why are you so defensive. There is nothing fool anyone about. its simple context, see the difference in replies. why does he bend over backwards first to dodge the question, they trying to say it hasn't been discussed and that he doesn't know. all he had to do was say No, clearly and directly.

did you even bother to look at the video i linked?


where is the categorical denial over airspace? source? b/c I've been looking for it for months, and even here Imran Khan stats getting coy about things.

some of you people are complete political hacks, anyone objectively looking at his answer can see the difference in tone.
We will see. The truth cannot be hidden. You think that a deal can be concealed? LOL We will see who is right and who is wrong.
 

hyperman

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We will see who is right and who is wrong.
Its not about who is right or wrong, its about noting the difference in his tone. Frankly I'm not interested in ever seeing a situation where an airstrike is ever needed, and even if it were needed. If it were up to me, I would not do it.

If there is chaos and a political vacuum like a lot of clownish people here are hoping for with a civil war, frankly the snakes that will spawn in this pit will bite the ones that are nearest to them, which will be inside China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran. The US is probably the most insulated from that fallout than any other state, sitting two oceans away on a completely different continent, worst case scenario you ban travel and flights from Afghanistan. The fallout of refugees fleeing the chaos will first and foremost affect Pakistan as Imran Khan noted. So to the people foolishly hoping for a civil war here, go ahead, spark your own destruction.
 

VCheng

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The interests of Pakistan and the United States in Afghanistan are the same. We want a negotiated peace, not civil war. We need stability and an end to terrorism aimed at both our countries. We support an agreement that preserves the development gains made in Afghanistan in the past two decades. And we want economic development, and increased trade and connectivity in Central Asia, to lift our economy. We will all go down the drain if there is further civil war.
This is why we have done a lot of real diplomatic heavy lifting to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, first with the Americans, and then with the Afghan government. We know that if the Taliban tries to declare a military victory, it will lead to endless bloodshed. We hope the Afghan government will also show more flexibility in the talks, and stop blaming Pakistan, as we are doing everything we can short of military action.
These are the key lines: "The interests of Pakistan and the United States in Afghanistan are the same. ..... we are doing everything we can short of military action."
 

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