On Wednesday, Pakistan opened the Spin Boldak crossing with Afghanistan, despite the border outpost still being controlled by the Taliban*. According to Reuters, over 100 trucks carrying supplies have already crossed over from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Islamabad has often been accused of backing the Taliban against the Afghan government.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that the US “really messed it up” in Afghanistan by trying to find a “military solution” to the conflict, as he reckoned that such a prospect had never existed in the first place.
“And people like me who kept saying that there’s no military solution, who know the history of Afghanistan, we were called — people like me were called anti-American. I was called Taliban Khan,” the Pakistan PM said during a TV interview with American broadcaster PBS.
PM Khan bemoaned the fact that by the time the US appeared ready for a political resolution in the Central Asian nation, it had already lost its “bargaining power” as the number of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) troops had already been reduced to around 10,000.
Khan told the US news channel that since the “military solution” to the conflict had failed, an inclusive government involving a power-sharing arrangement with Kabul was the “best outcome” going forward.
“So, the Taliban sit down with the other side and they form an inclusive government. This is the best outcome,” said Khan.“…there’s nothing more we can do, except push them as much as we can for a political settlement. That’s all,” he reckoned.
The Pakistani PM also fended off allegations that Pakistan is providing military, logistical and financial support to the Taliban insurgents in fighting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), as alleged by President Ashraf Ghani’s administration.
“Intelligence estimates indicate the influx of over 10,000 Jihadi fighters (into Afghanistan) from Pakistan and other places in the last month,” Ghani alleged in front of Pakistan’s Prime Minister at a connectivity conference in Dushanbe on 16 July.
For his part, Khan claimed that the Afghan authorities had yet to provide evidence to back their claims.
“When they say that Pakistan gave safe havens, sanctuaries to the Taliban, where are these safe havens?” he asked.“When you — when we said there are three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, who are, by the way, the same ethnic group as the Taliban, Pashtuns, now, there are camps of 500,000 people,” Khan pointed out, questioning as to how these refugee camps could be called “sanctuaries”.
The US has committed to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by 31 August this year, with the process beginning on 1 May. Earlier this month, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that 90 percent of the forces had already been withdrawn from the region.
The foreign troop withdrawal process, however, has been accompanied by a countrywide offensive by the Taliban, with the Islamic insurgents claiming to control nearly 85 percent of Afghanistan’s territory and 90 percent of its borders, including those with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran.