Muttaqi downplays Imran Khan’s remarks at OIC summit


KABUL: Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said at a press conference in Kabul on Monday that he believes remarks made by the Pakistani prime minister at the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) summit in Islamabad were not an insult to Afghanistan. He also said Khan’s remarks were critical of the former governments, which may have therefore caused former government officials to feel compelled to show a reaction.

“It was a summit, everyone has an opinion,” Muttaqi told reporters in Kabul when asked about his stance toward Prime Minister Khan’s remarks. “Imran Khan criticized the former (Afghan) governments. I think officials of the former governments felt obligated to react, I don’t see (Khan’s remarks) as insulting.”

On Sunday, Khan, at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting on Afghanistan, said Daesh threatens Pakistan from Afghanistan and so stability in Afghanistan is necessary. “We have had attacks from (the) Afghan border, from ISIL, into Pakistan,” he said

Khan also said that due to years of corruption in the Afghan government, poverty was widespread in Afghanistan even before the former government’s collapse. He also made cultural remarks about Afghanistan.

“We must understand… when we talk about human rights, every society is different. Every society’s idea of human rights and women’s rights are different,” Khan said. “Culture in Kabul was always different to rural areas just like in Peshawar it is completely different (the culture) to the districts joining the Afghanistan border.”

Khan’s remarks sparked a response from former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Afghans on social media. Karzai called Khan’s remarks “an attempt to sow discord among Afghans, and an insult to the Afghan people.”

“Allegations that ISIS is active in Afghanistan, threatening Pakistan from Afghanistan, is clear propaganda and in fact the opposite is true. The threat of ISIS has been directed from Pakistan against Afghanistan from the very onset,” Karzai added in a series of tweets.

Muttaqi said that if the Pakistan PM meant that a weak Afghan government would not be able to control the Daesh threat, that is another issue, and he hopes it will never happen. Muttaqi speaking to reporters also underscored the importance of the OIC summit, saying that the Islamic Emirate called for the establishment of a trust fund for Afghanistan and OIC members agreed.

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