Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s strong message to US over role of CIA in post troops withdrawal from Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan has shot down a request from an American intelligence agency for cross-border counterterrorism missions.
During an interview with HBO Axios’s Jonathan Swan that due to air on Sunday, the premier reiterated the country’s stance on the use of military bases and categorically denied giving its bases to the US for operations in Afghanistan after the troops' withdrawal.
PM while responding to the development said Pakistan will not allow the CIA or any special forces to base themselves inside the South Asian country ever again. ‘Will you allow the American government to have the CIA here in Pakistan to conduct cross border counter-terrorism missions against Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban?” the HBO journalist asked PM Imran.
Premier, who has long opposed US involvement in the war on terror, responded ‘Absolutely not, there’s no way we're going to allow any bases or any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan’.
Reports cited that the Pentagon and US State Department have been pursuing former Soviet republics to Afghanistan as places to continue operations after the September 2021 withdrawal, but so far had little luck.
Earlier, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US has had ‘constructive discussions’ with Pakistan about ensuring Afghanistan will never again become a base from which terrorist groups can attack the US, but declined to go into specifics.
On June 07, a leading US newspaper says that ‘Pakistanis have demanded a variety of restrictions in exchange for the use of a base’.
The article published by the New York Times (NYT) stated that ‘In discussions between American and Pakistani officials, the Pakistanis have demanded a variety of restrictions in exchange for the use of a base in the country, and they have effectively required that they sign off on any targets that either the C.I.A. or the military would want to hit inside Afghanistan, according to three Americans familiar with the discussions.’
Later, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi responded that Islamabad has told Washington that it would not give military bases as Pakistan has to look after its own interests.
Pakistan has refused to give military bases to the United States, adding that incumbent government has told all political parties that they have no intention to allow any US military base’, he clarified.
Meanwhile, US officials are still hopeful they can come to a covert arrangement with Islamabad to have an eye on war-torn Afghanistan.