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Pakistan

Deterioration in ties with Afghan govt could lead to ‘never-ending’ war against terrorism: Imran

  • Former prime minister says Pakistan should not seek help from the US as it would lead to internal discord
Published January 10, 2023

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday slammed the coalition government for “irresponsible statements” against the Afghan government, warning that deterioration in ties with the Afghan Taliban regime could lead to a “never-ending” war against terrorism.

The warning comes amid increasing terrorist attacks in the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders based in Afghanistan.

The outlawed terror group carried out over a hundred attacks last year and announced new ones after ending a ceasefire with the government on November 28, 2022.

Addressing a seminar on terrorism today, the former premier also lamented Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah’s “irresponsible” statements about Pakistan taking action against TTP hideouts in Afghanistan and warned that if the new Afghan government stops cooperating with Pakistan, it could lead to a “never-ending” war against terrorism.

Imran also questioned why recent incidents at the Pak-Afghan border were not taken up with the Afghan government, reiterating that another war against terrorism would become a curse for the country if relations with Afghanistan deteriorated.

He also responded to the criticism of the PTI government for leading peace talks with the TTP and said his opponents should not “lie to the people”.

“All stakeholders had sat down and were informed about the need for talks with the TTP and the plan to resettle their members,” he said, adding that a military operation could be a part of the overall peace settlement but never a successful option on its own.

He said that the federal government would need to tread carefully and seek KP’s input on the overall terror situation. He said that Pakistan should not seek help from the United States as it would lead to internal discord among locals if drone attacks were carried out.

KP police alone cannot confront terrorism threat

During his address, Imran said it was wrong to expect that the provincial police would alone confront the rising wave of terrorism, adding that the terrorists were much more heavily equipped.

“Terrorists operating in KP are ‘battle-hardened’ with access to the latest weaponry abandoned by the US when it pulled out of Afghanistan in 2021,” he said.

Imran said it would be wrong to assume that the KP police could confront such terrorists, at least until the federal government did not pay full attention to the matter.

The PTI chief said terrorism was a very important issue for the country and could have greater consequences if not properly addressed, especially at a time when our economic conditions can’t bear it at all.

The PTI chief alleged that the federal government had withheld funds for the tribal districts and did not pay attention to the resettlement of 30,000-40,000 TTP members from Afghanistan.

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