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Pakistan ready to be partner for peace in Afghanistan, but cannot host US bases: PM Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan with the United States — but cannot host US bases in the country, these views were expressed by Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan in his article in “The Washington Post” on Tuesday.

Pakistan and the US have the same interest in Afghanistan, said the premier and added Islamabad opposes any military takeover of Afghanistan, which will lead only to decades of civil war. “History proves that Afghanistan can never be controlled from the outside.”

PM Imran Khan further said in his opinion in The Washington Post that, Pakistan has suffered so much from the wars in Afghanistan. More than 70,000 Pakistanis have been martyred. While the United States provided $20 billion in aid, losses to the Pakistani economy have exceeded $150 billion.

There are more than 3 million Afghan refugees in our country — if there is further civil war, instead of a political settlement, there will be many more refugees, destabilizing and further impoverishing the frontier areas on our border. We are even now fencing Pak-Afghan historically open border almost completely.

The premier said if Pakistan were to agree to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan, and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge. We simply cannot afford this. We have already paid too heavy a price. Meanwhile, if the United States, with the most powerful military machine in history, couldn’t win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how would America do it from bases in our country?

He hoped that the Afghan government will show flexibility in talks with the Taliban for enduring peace and stability in the war-stricken country.

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