U.S. seeks Pakistan's help to establish peace in Afghanistan: PM

Howard TerryDec 08, 2018

"They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, 'Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?' There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan", he told the Post.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that past rulers not only enslaved themselves but the whole nation at the hands of some "super powers", ARY News reported.

In a wide-ranging interview with the top United States newspaper, the premier said he wanted a "proper relationship" with Washington. Is the request for "facilitation" a bait to hit Pakistan back with the same old allegation of double-game?

Nevertheless, he did not discount the possibility that Afghan Taliban jihadis are freely moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He said peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan's interest, so his government will do "everything" to help. "If we had stayed neutral after 9/11, I reckon we would have saved ourselves from the devastation that took place afterward", he explained, adding that by becoming the "front-line state for the U.S. in the war on terror, this country went through hell".

The former cricketer told the newspaper he was merely "setting the record straight" with Mr Trump "saying Pakistan was the reason for these sanctuaries [for Taliban leaders]". Putting pressure on the Taliban is easier said than done.

More than 17 years after the U.S. invasion, Washington has stepped up its bid for talks with the resurgent Taliban with a flurry of recent diplomatic efforts.

"I do believe that any solution in Afghanistan is going to require the assistance of Pakistan".

Pakistan joined the US-led war in Afghanistan in 2001 and paid a heavy price as mentioned by the prime minister on many occasions. Then, in 1989, when the Soviets packed up and left, the U.S. did too.

Pakistan on Friday chose to respond to US President Donald Trump's letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"To push the peace agenda forward, an authoritative negotiating team will conduct direct negotiations with the Taliban and we expect the same from the Taliban to give us a united negotiating team", said Saikal. Now, after releasing three Taliban veterans, and having received Khalilzad at the highest level indicates Pakistani leaders are again positioning themselves for a "bigger" role in the Afghan reconciliation. "If we had stayed neutral after 9/11, I reckon we would have saved ourselves from the devastation".

"India rebuffed all my overtures because they have elections and the ruling [BJP] party has an anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistan approach", he added. "We'll see how they do in the first-generation phase of this winter", he said.

He maintained that he wanted the case of the Mumbai attacks to be resolved, adding that he has "asked our government to find out the status of the case".

Khan, who has always been vocal about Pakistan's role in the war on terror, said his country wants "peace with all". "Resolving that case is in our interest because it was an act of terrorism", he said. I had gone on television and warned everyone that we will stand by the Supreme Court verdict.

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