Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday repeated that Pakistan committed "one of the biggest blunders" by joining the 'war on terror' led by the United States after the 9/11 attacks. He was speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think-tank in New York ahead of his meeting with US President Donald Trump. He also admitted that Pakistan, specially ISI, had trained Mujahideen against the Soviets.
Khan had already said that Pakistan should have been neutral in the during US-led military action in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks. Khan had made this statement during an interview with the news channel RT recently.
Imran Khan had also also expressed regret that Pakistan had to fight against the same Mujahideen groups who were once trained by it- just because America regarded them as 'terrorists'.
Talking about the Afghanistan war, Imran Khan had said that Pakistan lost 70,000 people and suffered a loss of over a 100 billion dollars to the economy during this war. He said Islamabad suffered great losses when it joined Washington in its action in Afghanistan and, in the end, was deemed responsible by America for its own setbacks.
On Monday, repeating almost the same views, Khan said that the previous governments "should not have pledged what they could not deliver."
When asked about former US defence secretary James Mattis' remark that he considered Pakistan to be "the most dangerous" among all countries he had dealt with, Khan said: "I do not think Mattis fully understands why Pakistan became radicalised."
Khan said Pakistan "committed one of the biggest blunders" when it joined the US war on terror after the 9/11 terror attacks by the al-Qaeda.
"I think the Pakistani government should not have pledged what they could not deliver," Khan said, referring to the then military dictator General Pervez Musharraf's decision to side with the US.
Pakistan was one of the three countries which recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan before the US invasion in 2001 there. After the US invasion of Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan extended support to American forces against the Taliban.
"In the 1980s, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan, helped by the US, organised the resistance to the Soviets. The ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) trained militants who were invited from all over the Muslim world to do jihad against the Soviets," Khan said in response to a question.
"And so we created these militant groups to fight the Soviets... Jihadis were heroes then. Come 1989, Soviets leave Afghanistan, the US packs up and leaves Afghanistan...and we were left with these groups," he added.
"Then comes 9/11, and Pakistan again joins the US in the war on terror and now we are required to go after these groups as terrorists. They were indoctrinated that fighting foreign occupation in jihad but now when the US arrived in Afghanistan, it was supposed to be terrorism," Khan added.
"So Pakistan took a real battering in this," the prime minister said, adding that Pakistan should have stayed neutral in the conflict. He insisted that there could be no military solution in Afghanistan and said he will urge President Donald Trump to resume peace talks.
"For 19 years if you have not been able to succeed, you are not going to be able to succeed in another 19 years," he added.
(With PTI Inputs)