Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that if Pakistan were to agree to host US bases for action inside Afghanistan, it would again be targeted for revenge by terrorists if civil war ensued. “We simply cannot afford this. We have already paid too heavy a price. Meanwhile, if the US, with the most powerful military machine in history, couldn’t win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how would they do it from bases in our country?” he said in an opinion piece for The Washington Post. He said Pakistan is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan with the US. “But as US troops withdraw, we will avoid risking further conflict,” he wrote. He said that Pakistan and the US had the same interest in “that long-suffering country”; a political settlement, stability, economic development and the denial of any haven for terrorists. “We oppose any military takeover of Afghanistan, which will lead only to decades of civil war, as the Taliban cannot win over the whole of the country, and yet must be included in any government for it to succeed.” He said that in the past, Pakistan had made a mistake by choosing between warring Afghan parties, but added that the country had learned from that experience. “We have no favourites and will work with any government that enjoys the confidence of the Afghan people. History proves that Afghanistan can never be controlled from the outside.” Highlighting how Pakistan has suffered from the wars in Afghanistan, PM Imran said: “More than 70,000 Pakistanis have been killed. While the US provided $20 billion in aid, losses to the Pakistani economy have exceeded $150 billion. Tourism and investment dried up. “After joining the US effort, Pakistan was targeted as a collaborator, leading to terrorism against our country from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other groups. US drone attacks, which I warned against, didn’t win the war, but they did create hatred for Americans, swelling the ranks of terrorist groups against both our countries.” He wrote that the US pressured Pakistan for the very first time to send troops into the semiautonomous tribal areas bordering Afghanistan “in the false expectation that it would end the insurgency”. “It didn’t, but it did internally displace half the population of the tribal areas, one million people in North Waziristan alone, with billions of dollars of damage done and whole villages destroyed. The ‘collateral’ damage to civilians in that incursion led to suicide attacks against the Pakistani Army, killing many more soldiers than the US lost in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, while breeding even more terrorism against us. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, 500 Pakistani policemen were murdered,” he wrote. He said that if there is further civil war in Afghanistan instead of a political settlement, the number of refugees in Pakistan will increase thereby “further impoverishing the frontier areas on our border”. He highlighted that the interests of Pakistan and the US in Afghanistan were the same. “We want a negotiated peace, not civil war. We need stability and an end to terrorism aimed at both our countries. We support an agreement that preserves the development gains made in Afghanistan in the past two decades. And we want economic development, and increased trade and connectivity in Central Asia, to lift our economy. We will all go down the drain if there is further civil war,” he wrote.