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Pakistan ready to be a partner for peace but will not host US bases: Imran Khan

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(Last Updated On: June 22, 2021)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said his country is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan with the United States but that it will not host US military bases.

In an opinion article for the Washington Post, Khan said: “Our countries have the same interest in that long-suffering country: a political settlement, stability, economic development and the denial of any haven for terrorists.

“We oppose any military takeover of Afghanistan, which will lead only to decades of civil war, as the Taliban cannot win over the whole of the country, and yet must be included in any government for it to succeed,” he wrote.

He acknowledged that in the past, Pakistan had made a mistake by choosing between warring Afghan parties, “but we have learned from that experience. We have no favorites and will work with any government that enjoys the confidence of the Afghan people. History proves that Afghanistan can never be controlled from the outside”, he said.

Khan also said that after joining the US effort to bring stability to Afghanistan, his country was targeted as a collaborator which in turn led to terrorism attacks against his country.

He also said that US drone attacks did not win the war but instead created hatred for Americans “swelling the ranks of terrorist groups against both our countries.”

Khan also stated that the United States pressured Pakistan to send its troops into the semi autonomous tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, “in the false expectation that it would end the insurgency. It didn’t, but it did internally displace half the population of the tribal areas, 1 million people in North Waziristan alone, with billions of dollars of damage done and whole villages destroyed.”

He said the “collateral” damage to civilians in that incursion led to suicide attacks against the Pakistani army, killing many more soldiers than the United States lost in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, while breeding even more terrorism against Pakistan.

Khan also stated that there are more than three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and in the event of another civil war, instead of a political settlement, there will be many more refugees, which will further destabilize and impoverish the frontier areas along the border.

He said that 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.

“We simply cannot afford this. We have already paid too heavy a price.”

He also stated that if the United States, “with the most powerful military machine in history”, could not win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how would America do it from bases in Pakistan?”

Khan said Pakistan and the US share the same interests – they both want a negotiated peace, not civil war.

He said Pakistan supports an agreement that preserves the development gains made in Afghanistan in the past two decades, economic development, and increased trade and connectivity in Central Asia.

“We will all go down the drain if there is further civil war,” he stated.

According to him, Pakistan has worked hard to get the Taliban to the peace talks table, “first with the Americans, and then with the Afghan government.”

He also said however that Pakistan knows if the Taliban tries to declare a military victory, it will lead to endless bloodshed.

But he said Islamabad hopes the Afghan government will show more flexibility in the talks, and stop blaming Pakistan.

In conclusion he said he believes that promoting economic connectivity and regional trade is the key to lasting peace and security in Afghanistan. “Further military action is futile.”

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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Uzbekistan to host international conference on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Tashkent will host a high-level international conference on Afghanistan at the end of July, Uzbekistan’s interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Norov announced.

Norov said the key focus would be on security, political stability and the socio-economic development of the region.

“As for Afghanistan, unfortunately, we are seeing a decrease in the attention of the international community to the situation in this country. Meanwhile, the situation there remains difficult, due to the acute economic crisis and the difficult humanitarian situation, challenges to regional security and stability remain,” he said.

Tashkent Times reported that Norov felt the international community should take responsibility for the present and future of Afghanistan and provide continued assistance to resolve problems in the country.

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