Imran says Washington prefers India when it comes to ‘strategic partnership’
Taking a dig at the U.S., Prime Minister Imran Khan has said Washington sees Pakistan “useful” only for clearing the “mess” it has left behind in Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting and prefers India when it comes to forming a “strategic partnership”.
Afghanistan has seen an uptick in violence by the Taliban after U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal of American and NATO troops by August 31. “Pakistan is just considered only to be useful in the context of somehow settling this mess which has been left behind after 20 years of trying to find a military solution when there was not one,” Mr. Khan told foreign journalists at his home here on Wednesday.
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Mr. Khan said that since the U.S. decided to have a “strategic partnership” with India, Washington was treating Pakistan differently, according to a journalist present at the meeting.
Islamabad is unhappy that Biden has not spoken to Prime Minister Khan since he assumed the presidency in January.
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf recently expressed disappointment over President Biden’s reluctance to contact Prime Minister Khan despite considering Islamabad as an important country in some critical issues like Afghanistan.
Mr. Yousuf also said Islamabad has other “options” if the American leader continues to ignore the country’s leadership.
The U.S. State Department, however, had assured Islamabad that Washington recognises Pakistan’s vital role in restoring peace in Afghanistan and wants Islamabad to play that role.
U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke over the phone with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa this week and discussed the current situation in Afghanistan. After the call, the Pentagon said the U.S. was having conversations with the Pakistani leadership about the need to shut down the safe havens for Taliban militants along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
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