ADDS REMARKS FROM IMRAN KHAN
By Vakkas Dogantekin
ANKARA (AA) - Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's last minute decision to cancel peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying there is not going to be a military solution to problems in that country.
Khan said Trump should have consulted with Pakistan before he called off the talks in a unilateral decision that came at a time when “peace deal was about to be signed.”
As a last step to the potential peace, we were going to use our leverage and meet Taliban leadership and ask for a sit-down with the Afghan government, said Khan.
He said he will do his best to convince Trump to resume talks.
Khan said he will meet Trump at the UN General Assembly meetings this week and “will try telling him that, look, there is not going to be military solution,” Khan said. “For 19 years, if you haven't been able to succeed, you are not going to be able to succeed another 19 years.”
His assessment of the Taliban is that it is not the same organization it was in 2001, although it gained some momentum after 2010. When it sees the “U.S. leaving Afghanistan, their morale is up,” he said.
''Things have changed, realities have changed. Lessons learned. The Taliban realizes now that it cannot control the whole of Afghanistan. The Afghan government knows there has to be some sort of a peace deal,'' Khan said.
''There has to be a political settlement. It is very tough but it is the only way,'' he added. ''People of Afghanistan has suffered for 40 years. It is inhuman what they are going through.''
- Man of peace
Khan said he is now and always will be “a pacifist.”
“I am anti-war. I do not believe war can solve problems. You go to solve one problem, you give birth to five more. You go to wipe out al-Qaeda, you create an ISIS,” Khan said, criticizing the Indian government for escalating the tension in the region with its decision early last month to revoke special limited autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir state.
Khan added that he is ''worried about'' the direction of India. “The ideology of Hindu Supremacy reeks across India and whenever such ideology prevails, its followers need someone to hate,” he said.
- Economy and China effect
The Pakistani premier said he inherited the ''worst economy'' in Pakistan's history when he came to power 13 months ago.
''China really helped us when we were right at the rock bottom,'' Khan said, calling relations with China a ''great opportunity'' in terms of economic exchanges and technology transfers.
Responding to a question on Chinese influence in Pakistan, he said China does not have a policy of interfering in Pakistan's foreign or domestic policies.
China does not threaten our sovereignty in any way, he said.
He also said Pakistan had to knock on the International Monetary Fund's door many times in a short period of time because former governments could not fix the current account deficit.
His administration ''cut down the current account deficit almost by 70%'' in just one year, he said.
Khan was critical of Pakistan’s deals with the IMF before his Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party came to power.