Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated that Pakistan is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan, but as US troops withdraw, country will avoid risking further conflict.
In his opinion published in Washington Post today (Tuesday), he said Pakistan and United States have the same interests in that long-suffering country as both want a political settlement, stability, economic development and the denial of any haven for terrorists there.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan opposes any military takeover of Afghanistan, as it will lead to decades of civil war, for the Taliban cannot win over the whole of the country hence must be included in any government for it to succeed.
He said Pakistan has no favorites and will work with any government that enjoys the confidence of the Afghan people as history proves that Afghanistan can never be controlled from the outside.
Imran Khan said Pakistan suffered so much from the wars in Afghanistan as over 70,000 Pakistanis have been killed and economy has to bear the brunt of over 150 billion dollars.
Tourism and investment dried up and after joining the US effort, Pakistan was targeted as a collaborator, leading to terrorism from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other groups.
There are more than three million Afghan refugees in our country if there is further civil war, instead of a political settlement, there will be many more refugees, destabilizing and further impoverishing the frontier areas on our border.
The Prime Minister said if Pakistan were to agree to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan, and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge by terrorists again.
He said he believes that promoting economic connectivity and regional trade is the key to lasting peace and security in Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister said if we share this responsibility, Afghanistan, once synonymous with the “Great Game” and regional rivalries, could instead emerge as a model of regional cooperation.