August 25, 2017
The best case scenario for peace in Afghanistan is the withdrawal of US forces from the country and multilateral negotiations between main stakeholders — Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and China — to establish a consensus government, Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan says.
Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, made the remarks in an interview with CNN on Thursday, days after US President Donald Trump announced his controversial war strategy for Afghanistan.
In a blatant U-turn from his campaign pledges to end the now 16-year occupation of Afghanistan, Trump said on Monday that his views have changed since entering the White House and that he would continue the military intervention “as long as we see determination and progress” in Afghanistan.
Trump also accused Pakistan of providing “safe havens for terrorist organizations,” which are active in Afghanistan.
“I would say that this is a deeply flawed policy. It’s more of the same,” Khan said when asked what he would tell to the US president in response to his foreign policy on Afghanistan.
“If he’s going to send more troops [to Afghanistan,] what are these troops going to do which 150,000 NATO troops could not do?” he asked.
“And I feel that his stated policy of killing the enemy…I mean that’s what they’ve been doing for all this while,” he said, referring to Trump’s remarks that the US is not in Afghanistan for nation building, but to kill terrorists.
“I think they should change policy. They should engage the neighbors, that means China, Russia and Iran. And they should try and form a government of consensus,” he said.
“And actually the US should think of leaving Afghanistan, because as long as their troops are in Afghanistan there’s always going to be a problem, ” Khan stated.
The prominent politician said that in his opinion the only solution for the Afghanistan issue is the withdrawal of US forces from the country and at the same time set up a government of consensus.
The United States — under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency — and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and-a-half-decade, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.
After becoming the president in 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war — one of the longest conflicts in US history – but he failed to keep his promise.
Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as “Obama’s war”.
But now Trump has announced to deploy thousands of more troops to the war-torn country, signaling a policy shift.
‘Pakistan suffered $100 billion in losses due to US war’
Earlier in his remarks, Khan told CNN that Pakistan sacrificed about 70,000 lives in America’s so-called war on terror, and the country’s economy suffered over $100 billion in losses.
Asked if Trump stopped civil and military aid to Pakistan, the PTI chief said, “I’d certainly recommend to our government… that we could do without this aid.”
“We’re much better off staying out of Afghanistan. This aid has been very costly to us in terms of as I said loss to the economy but the numbers of Pakistanis killed, wounded, lost limbs in these bomb attacks. Well, we’d do without this aid,” he stated.