Imran: Yes, Pakistan army and ISI trained al-Qaeda terrorists

Imran: Yes, Pakistan army and ISI trained al-Qaeda terrorists

NEW YORK: In an explosive admission by Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday acknowledged that the country had trained terrorists belonging to al Qaeda – the group responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks.

Speaking at the US think tank Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Khan said al Qaeda terrorists were trained by the Pakistan Army and the ISI before the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States took place.

He said the government changed its policy with regard to such groups post 9/11 but the army was reluctant to that change.

Answering a question on why no investigation was conducted into al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden being found and killed by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan’s Abbottabad, Khan said: “We had an investigation. But I will say, the Pakistan Army, ISI trained al Qaeda before 9/11, so there were always going to be links. Many in the Army didn’t agree with the policy change post 9/11.”

This is the second big admission on al Qaeda and its chief Osama by Pakistan in the last three months. Khan had in July this year acknowledged that the country was aware of Osama’s presence.

The Pakistani PM had then said that the country’s spy agency ISI had provided the lead to the CIA that helped the latter track and kill the al Qaeda chief responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

It was the first time that a Pakistani PM admitted to having knowledge about Osama’s presence in the country. Osama was killed by US special forces in a midnight raid on May 2, 2011.

Referring to US President Donald Trump, Khan said the world leader does not “understand why Pakistan was radicalised”.

He said: “In 1980s, Pakistan helped by the US had organised the resistance to Soviets for jihad. Jihad was glorified by (then US president Ronald) Reagan too.”

Referring to Trump’s recent move to cancel secret talks with the Taliban, the Pakistani PM said there is never going to be a military solution in Afghanistan.

“I said this to the Obama administration in 2008, but they didn’t believe it. Afghans always unite against foreign troops. Pakistan has millions of Afghan refugees… We read about Trump calling off Taliban peace talks in the newspapers. This is a mistake. I will certainly take this up with Trump when we meet,” Khan said.

“The Taliban of today recognise that they can’t control all of Afghanistan, neither can the Afghan Army. A political settlement is the only way…. the US can’t take troops out otherwise,” he added.

Times Now News