Imran Khan defends Taliban against Western ‘liberals’ with ‘thirst for blood’
July 29, 2020
Imran Khan, the former playboy cricketer and would-be Pakistani prime minister, has defended the Taliban against Nato, claiming that they represent Western "liberals [who] are thirsty for blood."
Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Oxford-educated sportsman, who has founded his own political party ahead of Pakistan’s election, lashed out at Nato’s war on the extremist group. "They have absolutely no idea. They sit in the drawing room.
"They read the English-language newspapers, which bear very little resemblance to what is real Pakistan," he told the Sunday Times. "I promise you, they would be lost in our villages.” He also took a swipe at Western countries such as the US, which he accused of committing "butchery" against his country. “American drone strikes in Pakistan must stop,” the 66-year-old said.
“It’s butchery, and the true horror of it is hidden from the West.” Khan is the leader of Pakistan’s second-largest party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, and hopes to distance Pakistan from the western Alliance if he becomes prime minister. The election was triggered by the ousting of Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified by the supreme court amid claims of corruption.
His remarks came as The Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed 11 soldiers and wounded 13 in the Swat Valley. Authorities say Saturday’s attack was the first in over three years in the northwestern region once ruled by militants. In a statement sent to media, the extremist group says a lone suicide bomber carried out the attack to avenge the killing and arrests of fellow militants.
The bomber detonated his explosives vest near an empty lot where soldiers were playing volleyball. Islamic militants ruled the picturesque Swat Valley from 2007 until a massive military operation routed them in 2009. Pakistan says militants who escaped from Swat and elsewhere are now operating out of the Kunar province in neighboring Afghanistan.
On Twitter, Khan said he condemned the attack, adding: "May Allah give the families of these brave men the strength to bear their loss."
He has previously said he supports the Taliban being allowed to open offices in Pakistani cities