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Pakistan

PM Imran questions US strategy to have bases in Pakistan

  • Asks how the US could win war with bases in Pakistan when it failed to do so from inside Afghanistan
  • PTI chief says Pakistan will suffer if it hosts US bases
Updated 22 Jun 2021

Karachi: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked how the United States (US) expects to win from bases in Pakistan when, even after 20 years, it could not win the war from inside Afghanistan, adding that history proves that the neighbour can never be controlled from the outside.

The premier wrote an opinion article published in The Washington Post, which comes following his interview with Axios on HBO Jonathan Swan in which he made it clear that Pakistan will not provide its bases to US troops in Afghanistan.

"There is no way we are going to allow any bases or any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not," the PM said to Swan.

In the op-ed published on Tuesday, the PM wrote how Pakistan would suffer if it allows military bases to the US. "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 by terrorists again. We simply cannot afford this. We have already paid too heavy a price," the PM writes.

Absolutely not, says PM to allowing US bases in Pakistan post Afghanistan withdrawal

The premier further wrote that Pakistan lost over 70,000 lives and suffered an economic loss of more than $150 billion after joining the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. "Pakistan has learned from the experience, and will not make a mistake by choosing between warring Afghan parties.

"If the United States, with the most powerful military machine in history, couldn’t win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how would America do it from bases in our country," questioned the premier.

The PTI chief also wrote that in the past, Pakistan 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.

PM Khan said that Pakistan is ready to become a partner with the US for peace in Afghanistan but it will not become a part of any conflict, adding that the US and Pakistan have the same interests in Afghanistan.

"We want a negotiated peace, not civil war. We need stability and an end to terrorism aimed at both our countries," the PM said.

Partners in peace, not in conflict, says PM Imran

The PM contends that Pakistan has done 'real diplomatic heavy lifting' to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, first with the Americans, and then with the Afghan government. "We hope the Afghan government will also show more flexibility in the talks, and stop blaming Pakistan, as we are doing everything we can short of military action," the premier adds.

The PM's statement comes at a time when the US forces move closer to total withdrawal in Afghanistan by September 11, putting at unease the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that is reportedly looking to find new bases for its counterterrorism and surveillance operations.

The CIA is seeking ways to maintain its intelligence-gathering, war-fighting, and counterterrorism operations in the country, The New York Times reported earlier.