By hindustantimes.com | Written by Ayshee Bhaduri | Edited by Meenakshi Ray,
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan defended US President Joe Biden’s decision for the botched pullout of American troops from Afghanistan, insisting that it was a “sensible” move and Biden is being “unfairly criticised” for it. “There was so much unfair criticism of President Biden, and what he did was the most sensible thing to do,” Khan told a Russian news channel on September 17.
Khan’s defence of the American President comes a month after he blamed the US for expecting Pakistan to “clean up the mess” it leaves behind in Afghanistan. “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,” Khan told reporters in Islamabad in early August before Kabul fell to the Taliban.
Khan himself has been a vocal critic of Biden’s decision to pull troops from Afghan soil. In an interview with The New York Times in late June, he blamed American withdrawal for diminishing the influence Pakistan had over the Taliban. “Given that the United States gave a date of withdrawal, from then onward, our leverage diminished on the Taliban. And the reason is that the moment the United States gave a date of exit, the Taliban basically claimed victory. They’re thinking that they won the war. And so, therefore, our ability to influence them diminishes the stronger they feel,” Khan alleged.
Biden has been subjected to strong-worded criticism from opposition politicians in his country and from the international community, who termed the pullout “hasty”, and worried about the Taliban’s newfound legitimacy, after the botched US withdrawal on August 31.
Khan also expressed doubts on America’s future intentions regarding Afghanistan, and said he wasn’t sure if the country had a coherent policy on how to deal with a war-ravaged country, Dawn reported on Sunday. He also simultaneously called on the US to engage in humanitarian efforts to help refugees, stressing the important role the country has to play after being in Afghanistan for over 20 years.
Palestinians in Jenin clashed with Israeli troops as they raided the city early on Sunday, residents said. Kamamji and Infeiat surrendered after being surrounded by Israeli forces, and two other Palestinians were arrested for assisting them, Israel’s military said.