Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the United States and its ally NATO should have talked to the Taliban years before when there was a huge number of foreign forces deployed in the country.
“The Americans should have started talking to the Taliban from a position of strength when there were 150,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan,” Khan said on Friday. “That was the time to talk with them. Talking to them when there is an exist date given, and when there are few thousand troops left, how do they expect the Taliban would now compromise?”
Khan said that majority of the three million Afghan refugees who are in Pakistan are “sympathizing and supporting the Taliban.”
“To have a political compromise between the Taliban and the government, to have a compromise, an inclusive government that is the only solution. Now what the Taliban are doing or not doing has nothing to do with us. All we want is that there should be peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s interest is in peace there,” Khan said.
He added: “The three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, almost all of them are Pashtuns and all of them, almost of them, would have sympathies with the Taliban. How is Pakistan supposed to check who is going over there to fight or not when about 25,000 or 30,000 people who cross every day? They are going to Afghanistan and come back.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Ministry said that the US is responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan and that it cannot put the burden on the shoulder of others in the region.
“The United States as a responsible party in Afghanistan has an inevitable responsibility for the current situation in the country. The US can’t put the entire burden on the shoulders of other countries in the region,” Wu Qian, the director of the Information Bureau of Ministry of National Defense of China, said. “The US needs to take its responsibility with seriousness in order to have confidence about the situation there and to prevent the possible war after the withdrawal of US forces.”
Meanwhile, dozens of people at a rally in Kabul accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, something that the neighboring country has denied.
“Pakistan has committed aggression against our country. ‘Terrorists’ are directly coming from Pakistan and are killing our people,” said Sayed Rahman Zakhelwal, a Kabul resident.
“Pakistan has committed a lot of atrocities against us,” said Akbar Ali, a Kabul resident.
This comes as relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have soured over the last few weeks. President Ashraf Ghani earlier this month accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban and said that 10,000 jihadists have flocked from Pakistan recently to fight in Afghanistan.