Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the US "really messed it up in Afghanistan" as he gave his analysis of the US's involvement in Pakistan's neighbor country in an interview with US television network PBS that aired on Tuesday.
“You see, first of all, 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 told American PBS TV.
“For anyone who objected to this way of — I don't know what the objective was in Afghanistan, whether it was to have some nation-building or democracy or liberate the women. Whatever the cause was, the way they went about it was never going to be the solution,” he said.
“So, 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,” Khan said.
"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," he said.
Khan said he believes that the “only good outcome for Afghanistan is that if there is a political settlement which is inclusive, so they form some sort of a government that includes all sorts of different factions there.”
Khan remarked that the worst situation in Afghanistan would be a protracted civil war.
“And from Pakistan's point of view, that is the worst-case scenario, because we then — we have — we face two scenarios, one, a refugee problem,” he said.
"Already, Pakistan is hosting over three million Afghan refugees. And what we fear is that a protracted civil war would be more refugees. And our economic situation is not such that we can have another influx," according to Khan.
“Secondly, the worry is that the civil war will flow into Pakistan, because the Taliban are basically ethnic Pashtuns. Now, there are more Pashtuns on our side of the border than in Afghanistan,” he stated.
Asked about the Haqqani Network, Khan said:
"I do not think that ISI controls the Haqqani Network. Yes, they would have connections with them. And if I was the United States, I would use this connection of the ISI with the Haqqani Network to actually get them on the negotiating table."