Afghan Taliban helping Pakistan to hold talks with TTP: PM

Offers clemency to outlawed party if they lay down arms

By: 24 News      Published: 05:00 PM, 1 Oct, 2021
Afghan Taliban helping Pakistan to hold talks with TTP: PM

In an exclusive interview with Turkey’s TRT World, Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed that Afghan Taliban are assisting his government in holding talks with the defunct Pakistan Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP), saying that the Afghan Taliban are playing the role of a mediator, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that talks were held to disarm the banned TTP. Some Taliban were ready to hold peace talks.

PM Khan told the TRT World that he always stated that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan problem. He said he was ready to offer clemency to the outlawed TTP if they lay down their arms. He said any solution to any problem is talks, not force.

In a tweet, the TRT reporter Ali Mustafa wrote: “In an EXCLUSIVE interview to TRT World the Pakistani PM @ImranKhanPTI says the govt hold talks with Pakistani Taliban to disarm and Afghan Taliban are mediating talks.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressing his dismay said that certain quarters in the US were unfairly targeting Pakistan for what had happened inside Afghanistan. The prime minister said there was complete shock and confusion in US after its troops’ pullout and swift march of Taliban.

He particularly referred to the recent debate on Afghan debacle in the US Senate as the Taliban returned to power after twenty years.

The prime minister said they were ‘seeking for scapegoats’ and targeting Pakistan for their confusion was unfair. “They are not in rational mindest,’ he added.

The Afghan army collapsed and that was what completely surprised the US quarters, he said, adding if Taliban government collapsed, the biggest losers would be the people of Afghanistan.

“They must come up for solution and think about the people of Afghanistan,” he said.

The prime minister cautioned that if the Afghan people were left in the limbo, the crisis was going to deepen.

He maintained that there was danger of looming human crises as the country that had survived on 70 per cent of foreign aid and if this component was left out and unless there was help in the short term, the Taliban would not be able to stand on their feet, ‘so there is greater danger of collapse, chaos and humanitarian crises.’

The prime minister said Pakistan would have been the most affected country if there was chaos.

About recognizing Taliban set up, the prime minister replied that Pakistan government was holding consultations and was in discussion with all the neighbouring countries.

He said the US has to recognize the new reality sooner or later.

An excerpt from the interview was already broadcast by Turkish TV network on Friday.

Prime Minister Khan, to another question, said that during 2017, he met the US leadership and explained to them the situation in Afghanistan, but they were clueless. The US society had no idea of situation in Afghanistan.

What happened now totally took them by surprise. “You see in the US Senate, they have no idea,” he added.

In the past, former chief of army staff General Kiyani had also explained the Afghan situation to the US leadership.

The prime minister further elaborated that as immediate neighbour to Afghanistan with strong traditional and ethnic affinities; they knew the history of that country.

He said Pakistan shared borders with Afghanistan where half of the population was Pashtuns, who resided on both sides of the border.

There was no military solution to the Afghan issue as Afghan people did not accept foreigners and under their traditions, they sought revenge if someone was killed at their homes, he added. 

To explain his viewpoint, the prime minister said the people inhibiting Pakistani tribal areas started attacking Pakistan, led by groups like Tahreek-i-Taliban (TTP), when the government had decided to side with the US.

While on the Afghan soil, there was a collateral damage and drone attacks which led to swelling of militant ranks, so that Taliban movement grew.

The prime minister also denounced former US president George Bush’s threat after the 9/11 attacks asking Pakistan to side with the US. He termed it an ‘imperialistic attitude’ and ‘ridiculous policy’.

If you did not agree with the US policy or its military operations, he said, you were branded as pro-Taliban.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said ‘I do not believe in military solutions”.

He said that he was even against Iraq war as use of military force was no solutions to conflicts.

The prime minister said in 9/11 attacks, no Pakistani was involved, but the country had to suffer colossal damage in the US led war.

About 80,000 lives were lost, huge chunk of tribal population had been displaced with hundreds of billions of losses to its fragile economy, while its border areas were devastated. Pakistan had made these sacrifices for the US as mere a scapegoat, he added.

He said the well trained 3,00,000 Afghan army fully equipped with weapons could not resist Taliban force, and former president along with his government functionaries fled the country.

The prime minister expressed his optimism that when this angle and rationality appeared, the US would realize how could Pakistan be held responsible for its policies over Afghanistan.

He also strongly rejected the allegations that Pakistan had been assisting Taliban in capturing Afghanistan. The Taliban were seen in Kabul while riding on motorcycles without shoes, he added.

The prime minister while drawing conclusion said that Afghan people had always resisted the foreign forces, and had been very independent minded people. ”You cannot control them from outside like US tried to,” he added.

To another query, he said from Pakistan’s point of view, ‘inclusive government means a stable Afghanistan after four decades of war’.

“As well wishers of Afghan people, we want them to be stable. They could be controlled from outside, it’s a fantasy. Pakistan only suggested there should be an inclusive government, he said, adding Taliban also understood it.  

Prime minister Khan said Afghanistan was home to multi ethnic groups, where Pashtuns were in majority while Tajik, Uzbek and Hazaras were minorities.

Reporter Awais Kiyani