Revealing there were 40 different militant groups operating in the country in the last two decades, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said successive governments did not disclose this to to allies and kept the United States in the dark. Khan also denied Pakistan’s connection with the 9/11 terror attack on US soil as he wrapped up his three-day tour of the country.
“We were fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground,” Khan said.
Khan was addressing a Capitol Hill reception hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairperson of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. He explained to the lawmakers that part of the reason for not disclosing the truth was because Pakistani governments were not in control.
“There were 40 different militant groups operating within Pakistan. So Pakistan went through a period where people like us were worried about could we survive it. So while the US expected us to do more and help the US win the war, Pakistan at that time was fighting for its own existence,” he said.
Khan, who met Donald Trump two days ago, said the meeting with the US President and top American leaders was very important. “We have explained to them that the way forward is: number one, the relationship has to be based on mutual trust,” he said, assuring that he would be honest on what his country could do in the peace process.
Meanwhile, Khan added that Pakistan was trying its best to get Taliban on the table to push this dialogue. “So far, we have done pretty well,” he said and cautioned the US that the process was not going to be easy.
“Do not expect this to be easy, because it is a very complicated situation in Afghanistan. But rest assured, we would be trying our best. The whole country is standing behind me. The Pakistan Army, the security forces, all are behind me. We all have one objective and it is exactly the same objective as the US, which is to have a peaceful solution as quickly as possible in Afghanistan,” Khan said.
During the last engagement of his hectic schedule in the US, Khan hoped that the US-Pak relationship would now be on a different level. “It was painful for us to watch the mistrust between the two countries,” he said, adding: “We hope that from now onwards, our relationship will be completely different.”