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Will try to persuade Taliban to hold talks with Afghanistan govt: Imran Khan

News Agencies | Updated on: 25 September 2019, 9:01 IST
Imran Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said his country will try to persuade the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government and broker a peace deal to end the 18 year-long civil war in Afghanistan.

"We thought a deal was being signed in Afghanistan. We found out through a tweet that the deal had been called off. I spoke to President Donald Trump in this regard. We will try our best to get the Taliban to talk to the Afghan government," he told reporters here at the UN headquarters.

Khan hoped that a proper political solution is achieved to end the conflict else chaos could aggravate in the war-torn country.

"This time round, when the Americans leave Afghanistan we hope there is a transition to a proper political solution otherwise there will again be chaos in Afghanistan," he said.

Comparing the current situation with that of the mujahideens fighting against the Soviets in the 1980s, Khan said, "In 1979, Soviets invaded Afghanistan. In 1980-81, Americans decided to back the freedom struggle in Afghanistan. Jihad (freedom struggle) was declared against soviets. Muslims all over the world were invited to do jihad."

"All these mujahideen groups like Al-Qaeda arrived in Pakistan to defeat the Soviets. They were trained by Pakistan but funded by the Americans. My whole point is, when Soviets left, the Americans also packed up their bags and left. We were left with these groups. This is how we ended having these groups," he asserted.

Khan said that he did not believe conflicts can really resolve anything. "We have the conflict in Afghanistan and you have me on record saying this war will take us nowhere," he added.

The US has been negotiating with the Taliban in the last few months at Doha despite the group's reluctance to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, which it views as a US puppet.

An agreement was reached "in principle" to withdraw over 5,000 troops from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees by the Taliban. But Trump called off the peace negotiations, citing the Kabul car bombing carried out by the group earlier this month that claimed the lives of 12 people, including an American soldier.


First published: 25 September 2019, 9:01 IST