We're not your 'hired gun' anymore, Imran Khan tells US

We're not your 'hired gun' anymore, Imran Khan tells US

Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the USA of "pushing Pakistan away" and said he would never want to have a relation with Washington where his country is treated like a "hired gun".

Islamabad joined Washington's "war on terror" in 2001, and says it has paid a heavy price for the alliance, which sparked an Islamist backlash and homegrown militant groups who turned their guns on the Pakistani state, costing thousands of lives.

The prime minister said U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad during his recent visit to Islamabad had very productive meetings with him and the foreign minister on the subject. To this, the Pakistan Prime Minister reiterated that "peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan?s interest" and promised to do "everything" possible.

"I talked for years about how there was no military solution in Afghanistan, and they called me "Taliban Khan".

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani conceded that the security forces are sustaining many casualties, but he said they are increasingly successful in repelling enemy attack.

He said Iranian Foreign Minister Jawwad Zarif also paid a visit to Islamabad and discussed the modalities for Yemen peace process.

Families of Taliban leaders and fighters are believed to be residing among among almost three million Afghan refugees Pakistan still hosts. "If we had stayed neutral after 9/11, I reckon we would have saved ourselves from the devastation that took place afterward", he explained, adding that by becoming the "front-line state for the U.S. in the war on terror, this country went through hell".

PM Khan said the USA has blamed Pakistan for its own deeply flawed policies, like the military approach to Afghanistan.

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The Trump administration, in the recent months, has intensified its efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of America's longest war in Afghanistan where the United States has lost over 2,400 soldiers since late 2001, when it invaded the country after the 9/11 terror attacks.

On the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, Khan said: "We also want something done about the bombers of Mumbai".

He, however, added that putting "pressure on the Taliban is easier said than done as about 40 per cent of Afghanistan is now out of the government's hands". These people crossing would be seen.

The renewed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commitment came in a week when the Marine officer nominated to command US forces in the Middle East warned that the fight there is at a stalemate and the number of Afghan troop deaths in the war is not sustainable.

By becoming the front-line state for the U.S. in the war on terror, he regretted, Pakistan "went through hell". "There were a lot of people in Pakistan who opposed it, including me", PM Imran Khan responded to the accusations.

In a separate meeting, the prime minister was briefed by federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda and Water and Power Development Authority chairman retired lieutenant general Muzammil Hussain about water crisis and the measures being taken to overcome water shortage in the country.

Khan also expressed hope that Islamabad and New Delhi would resume talks after the General Elections in India next summer.

"I had gone on television and warned everyone that we will stand by the Supreme Court verdict", he recalled.

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