Wed, 27 Oct 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 18 (ANI): Pakistan paid a "very heavy price" of siding with the US in its occupation of Afghanistan, said Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that hearing American politicians blame Islamabad for its humiliating retreat hurts.

In an interview with Russia's RT, Khan expressed his anger towards American officials who have pointed fingers at Islamabad when apportioning blame for the US failure in Afghanistan.

His remarks come after the recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings as an example of this frustrating rhetoric where US lawmakers accused Pakistan of facilitating Taliban.

"As a Pakistani, I felt deeply hurt by some of the remarks made by those senators. To blame Pakistan for this debacle in Afghanistan is the most painful thing for us to listen to," he said.

Pakistan was in a tremulous situation when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred in the US. Pervez Musharraf, a general who'd come to power through a military coup, had just been elected president and was seeking US assistance for his government. Committing Pakistani support to the invasion of Afghanistan helped secure American military aid, but, Khan believes, was still a wrong call.

It alienated the mujahideen forces, which the Pakistani intelligence helped build up just two decades ago as part of the US anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan.

"We have trained them to fight against foreign occupation. It was a holy war, a jihad," he said. And with the Americans invading, Pakistan was telling the same people that "a fight against the Americans was terrorism. So they turned against us. They called us collaborators."Early this week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken confronted a barrage of questions from US lawmakers about last month's withdrawal from Afghanistan and the attempts to rescue people and deal with a future Taliban government.

Lawmakers cutting across the party lines demanded more severe action against Islamabad for its subversive role in Afghanistan.

The top two members of the committee, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and Idaho Republican James Risch, both assailed the withdrawal as a debacle in their opening remarks and demanded action against Pakistan for "double-dealing in Afghanistan".

Bob Menendez Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asserted: "We need to understand the double-dealing by Pakistan and providing a safe haven to the Taliban."Republican Senator James Risch said that he was concerned over the Biden administration rushing to normalise ties with the Taliban government and how it must not occur without extensive congressional consultations. "We also must understand Pakistan's role in this entire matter, as the Chairman (Mendez) has alluded to. This is a difficult but important situation."US Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, spoke at the hearing telling Secretary of State Antony Blinken that "the Biden Administration's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is evidence" that "we have got the wrong people making military and diplomacy decisions in our government." (ANI)

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