In response to the claims that some of Pakistani army and intelligence ISI were playing a double game, helping Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, the foreign minister said, “They were helping their own country (and were trying to) overcome a situation which was not of their own making,” he said.
Qureshi referred to America’s links with Afghan freedom fighters during the 1980s, when Washington backed a Mujahedeen insurgency against the Soviet occupation forces. “Who were these people? Who supported them? Who trained them? We forget history and at times we overlook that friends change,” he complained.
“People that you supported, some of the people, were called extremists. Weren’t they invited to the US? Weren’t they entertained in the White House? So, friends change. Circumstances change. We were just defending and protecting ourselves,” he said.
Qureshi also said Pakistan wants to play a positive role in Afghanistan, but it is not only responsibility that has to be shared with others.
Qureshi, however, expressed concerns that the Taliban are regaining foothold in Afghanistan.
“I think they also do realize that things have changed within Afghanistan over the last 17 years and they cannot just run over and get to Kabul and take of the country. There is new realization everywhere. Pakistan’s foreign minister asserted. “I think the Afghan government also recognizes and realizes that there are areas where Taliban have amounts of influence. They are at districts that they control. There is a new realization that is in the making that is let’s give peace a chance and let’s give dialogue, reconciliation a chance.”
Meanwhile, the Afghan government calls for Islamabad’s cooperation in fight against terrorism and the peace process.
“We expect Pakistan to cooperate with us in fight against terrorism,” Najib Danish, the Ministry of Interior spokesperson added.
This comes as Islamabad is scheduled to hold a meeting between the religious scholars of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the near future.