Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated that his government will not allow any foreign military bases on Pakistani soil as the country can not again get ’embroiled’ in another Afghan civil war.
The premier further said that as far as he knows, “the Americans are going to stop all sorts of air attacks on Afghanistan” after August 31.
“We have made it very clear that our soil will not be used…so that we again get embroiled in Afghanistan’s civil war. So we do not want any bases in Pakistan, we don’t want our soil to be used for attacks into Afghanistan and as far as I know, after the 31st, the Americans are going to stop all sorts of air attacks on Afghanistan.”
The prime minister also clarified that he is not ‘waiting’ for a call by US President Joe Biden regarding the Afghanistan issue.
“I keep hearing that President Biden has not called me. It’s his business. It’s not like I am waiting for any phone call,” said the premier while talking to foreign journalists on Wednesday night.
Also read: Indian, Afghan social media accounts involved in anti-Pakistan propaganda: NSA
Imran said the Afghan government should stop making Pakistan a scapegoat for its own failures and added that Pakistan was not responsible for Afghanistan’s internal problems.
The prime minister reiterated that the country has played a crucial role in making peace in Afghanistan and the Doha talks were meant to ensure peace there through a ceasefire and political settlement.
He also said the United States sees Pakistan as useful only in the context of the “mess” it is leaving behind in Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting.
“Pakistan is just considered only to be useful in the context of somehow settling this mess which has been left behind after 20 years of trying to find a military solution when there was not one,” PM Imran told foreign journalists.
“I think that the Americans have decided that India is their strategic partner now, and I think that’s why there’s a different way of treating Pakistan now,” he said.
He said he tried to persuade Taliban leaders when they were visiting Pakistan to reach a settlement.
“The condition is that as long as [President] Ashraf Ghani is there, we (Taliban) are not going to talk to the Afghan government,” Khan said, quoting the Taliban leaders as telling him.
Peace talks between the Taliban, who view Ghani and his government as US puppets, and a team of Kabul-nominated Afghan negotiators started last September but have made no substantive progress.
Representatives of a number of countries, including the United States, are currently in the Qatari capital of Doha talking to both sides in a last-ditch push for a ceasefire.
US forces have continued to use air strikes to support Afghan forces against Taliban advances, but it remains unclear if such support will continue after Aug 31.