Pakistan to seal border if Taliban take over Afghanistan: PM

Says country doesn't want another influx of refugees
Jun 25, 2021
Photo: Imran Khan/Facebook
Photo: Imran Khan/Facebook

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan will seal its border if Afghanistan if the Taliban take over Afghanistan through military force.

"Pakistan does not want to get into, number one, conflict. Secondly, we do not want another influx of refugees," he remarked while speaking on the topic with The New York Times's Yara Bayoumy and Jyoti Thottam on a video call. You can read the opinion piece here.

He remarked that Pakistan has emphasised to the Taliban to not pursue the option of military victory as it would lead to a "protracted civil war". "And the country that would be affected by civil war, after Afghanistan, would be Pakistan. We would be affected because there are more Pashtuns in Pakistan than in Afghanistan," the PM remarked.

Imran Khan categorically said that Pakistan will "recognise a government which is chosen by the people of Afghanistan, whichever government they choose."

Relations with the US

Pakistan has a closer relationship with the United States than India, he said. "And then after 9/11, Pakistan again opted to join the US war on terror. Now, after the US leaves Afghanistan, basically Pakistan would want a civilised relationship, which you have between nations, and we would like to improve our trading relationship with the US."

He remarked that Pakistan's relationship with the US is a "bit lopsided", explaining that it was lopsided because the US felt that they were giving aid to Pakistan, and in return, it had to do US’s bidding. "What Pakistan did in terms of trying to do the US bidding actually cost Pakistan a lot in human lives. Seventy thousand Pakistanis died, and over $150 billion were lost to the economy because there were suicide bombings and bombs going on all over the country."

The PM shared that he now wants to focus on a relationship based on "trust and common objectives".

Relationship with Afghanistan

Imran Khan said that there is a feeling in the Afghan government expecting Pakistan to do more. This is "very disappointing" to us.

The Afghan government still "blame us for being unable to, after so many years, to come to some sort of a settlement," he added.

Choosing sides

When asked about China and the US, Pakistan PM questioned why is it necessary to choose sides. "I think we should have a relationship with everyone. China has been very good to us, in the sense that after the war on terror, or during the war on terror, we took a real battering in this country. So China is the country that came to Pakistan’s help. And obviously, we’ve had a long relationship with China."

PM Khan said that he doesn't see why the US thinks that "India is going to be this bulwark against China. If India takes on this role, I think it would be detrimental for India because India’s trade with China is going to be beneficial for both India and China."

So I’m just watching the scenario unfold and with a bit of anxiety, he added.

Imran Khan

new york times

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