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Imran Khan says world should give Taliban more time, US misunderstood Haqqanis

Instead of sitting and thinking that “we can control them”, the world should come forward to incentivise Afghanistan and provide some more time to the Taliban, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an interview to CNN. ‘We’ in Imran Khan’s comment meant the United States and not Pakistan as Imran Khan said Afghanistan has a tradition of rejecting puppet government. “No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people. It gets discredit among the people.

Pakistan had intelligence inputs that the Taliban would not be able to take over all of Afghanistan and there will be bloodbaths after the US forces left. Now, the world should give more time to the Taliban to form a legitimate government and make good on their promises Imran Khan said.

On being asked about women’s rights under the Taliban rule, Imran Khan said it is a mistake to think that someone from outside will be able to give Afghan women rights. “Afghan women are string. Give them time. They will get their rights,” Khan said.

On Pakistan supporting the Taliban

Countering the allegations which are not new for Pakistan and Imran Khan that Pakistan was supporting the Taliban, the prime minister said that his country can’t fund war when it barely meets its own expenses. “The total budget of Pakistan is $50 billion for 220 million people. […] Did we have the capacity to fund another war [when] we can barely meet our own expenses?” he said.

‘US never understood what the Haqqani network was’

Imran Khan said Haqqanis are a ‘Pashtun tribe living in Afghanistan’. They were Mujahideen who were fighting the Soviets. “They were born in a Pakistani refugee camp,” Imran Khan said giving his own explanation of how the Haqqani Network started.

Imran Khan was strongly pitching for a government in Afghanistan with the Taliban presence and during Wednesday’s interview too, he said had he been the prime minister of Pakistan at the time when Pakistan joined its hands with the US in this war, he would not have sided with the United States. “The Afghan Taliban weren’t attacking us. I wish if I was in government. I would have told the US that we are not going to take them on militarily because first, we have to serve the people. My responsibility would have been to the people of my country,” Khan said.

‘Want normal relationship with the US like India has’

On US-Pakistan relationship after Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the withdrawal of the US troops, Imran Khan said he had not spoken with Joe Biden. “”I would imagine he’s very busy, but our relationship with the US is not just dependent on a phone call, it needs to be a multidimensional relationship,” Imran Khan said.

Imran Khan said Pakistan now wants a normal relationship with the US like the “US has a relationship with India” and not a “one-dimensional relationship where they are paying us to fight.”

Desk Team