NEW YORK, Feb 22 (APP): Imran
Khan, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, on Sunday backed the Swat peace
arrangement, stressing that political dialogue and not the use of force is the
long-term answer to the Taliban issue.
Speaking on CNN, the
cricketer-turned politician urged the US President Barack Obama’s administration
to realize that winning over the Pushtun population is essential and argued that
the real threat has always been al-Qaeda and not the Taliban.
He said the Obama
Administration should not rely heavily on the use of military force because that
would be a repetition of the former Bush administration’s flawed and
directionless Afghan policy.
“What I am hoping from Obama is
that he will, somewhere along the line, realize, as the British have, that this
war is not an option in Afghanistan, they have to understand the psyche of the
people, their history,” he said on CNN’s GPs prpgramme with Fareed Zakaria.
He opposed the drone attacks on
Pakistani territory, terming them counterproductive. Such measures, he said,
radicalize the people and shrink the space for moderates.
“There has to be a change of
strategy, there is no military solution to this,” he said, citing the Soviet
Union’s defeat in Afghanistan despite the fact that they killed a million people
in that country.
Imran Khan said if the war goes
in Afghanistan, Pakistan will continue to suffer from its blowback effect.
“The Americans should have
isolated al-Qaeda from the Taliban.
The Taliban had nothing to do
with terrorism. Yes, they were fundamentalists. But they were not terrorists,” he
said, arguing that the US attacks against the Taliban and then not being able to
deliver on the promises of good governance system, brought things to the current
mess in Afghanistan.
‘”The only way forward is
dialogue, which is what (Afghan President) Hamid Karzai is finally saying. You
have to start talking to the Taliban.”