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Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has said the United States uses Pakistan “like a tissue paper”.

“For Pakistan, unfortunately, the economic situation is not that strong right now. The country is actually going through an economic crisis. So American sanctions would be damaging. But I mean, is this justice? Is it fair? Is this how the US would use a country like a tissue paper and when it thinks it doesn’t need it anymore it just casts it away? I think it’s very immoral,” Imran said during an interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman’s statement came in response to a question regarding how damaging and dangerous it would be for Pakistan to be placed on the grey-list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Speaking about the US accusing Islamabad of supporting terrorism, Imran said, “I think, it’s very unfair to Pakistan, you know, a country that participated in the US war, and I repeat, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and a country that lost more people than any other country.”

“I mean, Pakistan lost more human beings, almost 70,000 dead, vast number of them were handicapped because of bomb blasts, for helping the Americans, for joining the American war and it brought the heaviest cost. And at the end the Americans today blame Pakistan and put sanctions against it, I think, this is the greatest travesty of justice. I think, you know, it is something which is inconceivable that the US would blame Pakistan for its failure in Afghanistan,” he added.

When asked why the Pakistani defence minister is asking the US to reconsider a cut of billions of dollars in security aid as ordered by President Donald Trump in January, Imran said. “My point of view is that this American aid has been very costly for Pakistan.”

“For getting whatever aid we did get in these 15 years, the damage done to Pakistan and participating the US war on terror has led to almost 70,000 people dead. It has devastated our tribal areas, the border areas, we have half of the population – we are talking about 3 to 4 million people – who were internally displaced. And the loss of the economy is about 100 billion dollars. So this small aid has been very costly. And the lesson learned, from Pakistan’s point of view, is to never fight someone else’s war. And people like us have always opposed it.”

Posed with the question if Pakistan should show actual accounting or if US should put forth proof of its statement that anywhere from 50% to 70% of the aid sent to Pakistan was misspent, wasted on kickbacks, bribes or even stolen, Imran said, “The aid given in proportion to the damage done in Pakistan by participating in the US war – there is no comparison.”

“The aid was what? They say, about 20 billion dollars, maybe 25 billion dollars. Pakistan has lost over a hundred billion dollars. Economy suffered. Investment suffered. The damage done through terrorism meant that foreign investors won’t come into Pakistan. Tourism collapsed in this country. Even today foreign cricket teams don’t come to play in Pakistan. So this country took a heavy punishment by participating in that war. And as I said, the money coming from that aid is a small pittance compared to what it cost to people of Pakistan,” he maintained.

Imran “absolutely agreed” with Pakistan’s foreign minister’s that the US has turned Islamabad into “a whipping boy” to distract from its failures in Afghanistan.

Agreeing that Washington is looking to single out Pakistan to deter criticism, the PTI chief said, “Just look at the facts. At one point there were 150,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan. And then the Afghan army is anything between 250,000 to 300,000. So you are talking about almost half a million armed forces in Afghanistan. And what the US blames Pakistan for is that two or three thousand insurgents coming from Pakistan to Afghanistan are the reason why they could not win the war in Afghanistan. “

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13. ‘US expects Pakistan to win the war they’ve badly lost in Afghanistan’

“Firstly, what would the US do to be on a collision course with Pakistan? The maximum leverage that the US has is to stop the aid. And, you know, Pakistan should try everything to keep the US happy,” he said when asked if the drop in American aid be countered by deals of Pakistan’s newest friends, like China or Saudi Arabia.

“But the problem is that the US expects Pakistan – the message it has made in Afghanistan – to somehow win the war which they’ve badly lost in Afghanistan. And when I say ‘lost’ I mean they haven’t won.”

“All the Taliban have to do to win the war is not to lose. So what the US expects Pakistan to do is what it has not been able to do to succeed in Afghanistan. And clearly Pakistan has limitations. And if Pakistan now… What they want to do is to take actions against these Taliban groups supposedly operating from Pakistan. Well, then they should tell us where these groups are. They are talking about the Haqqani network. At its peak the Haqqani network would have maximum 2,000 to 2,500 men in Pakistan. That surely cannot be the reason why they’ve lost and have not been able to win for 16 years,” he said.

Suggesting that the US will have to change its strategy in Afghanistan, Imran said, “What I feel is that the American policy of military actions, collateral damage… I don’t know whether you have seen, in Kunduz the bomb in madrasa killed a hundred children. Now that hundred children killed by the American bomb means that this will raise hatred in Afghanistan, and hatred means more recruits, and so it’s an ongoing circle: collateral damage, hatred, more recruits and an ongoing war. So the answer is that the US has to change its strategy. And that’s going towards dialogue and political solution.”

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