Pakistan created Taliban during Benazir's regime with support from U.S., Saudi Arabia

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New Delhi, Dec.17 (ANI): Pakistan organised the Taliban within the country with the active support of the United States and Saudi Arabia in 1996 when Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister and Nasir Ullah Babar was interior minister of Pakistan, Afzal Khan, a legendary personality of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has said.

Khan, who was a federal Cabinet minister at the time of creation of Taliban, has revealed that the United States created the Taliban to work as their proxy so that they could keep control over central Asia's energy resources. It was also done for the possibility of exploring four trillion cubic feet of gas in Afghanistan besides keeping China away from these energy rich areas.

Afzhal Khan, in a recent interview with Current, a Delhi-based newspaper, talked about various important aspects related to Taliban and role of Pakistan and the U.S. in its creation and the factors significant to bring peace in the region.

Speaking of U.S. operation in Afghanistan. Khan said: "Strategically, for the US, the NWFP is important to keep an eye on China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Also, the US is trying to drag in China for direct confrontation with the international community to slowdown China's growth rate.Again, it is the US' assessment that if China continues to grow at his rate then it would certainly become a super power by 2024. So it is important for the US to try its best to stall China's escalation as a global power."

He said that Pakistan did organize the Taliban within Pakistan but with the active support of the US and Saudi Arabia in 1996 when Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister and Nasir Ullah Babar was interior minister of Pakistan. Being a federal Cabinet minister at that time, I am witness to the events."

Khan said: "Strategically, the US created the Taliban to work as their proxy so that they could keep control over central Asia's energy resources. It was also to explore the four trillion cubicfeet of gas in Afghanistan besides keeping China away from these energy rich areas."

Asked whether he saw an end to the violence in NWFP?, he said: "I am an optimist. If, Pakistan, India, China, Iran and Afghanistan stop hatching conspiracies against each other there certainly will be peace in the region without doubt," Khan said.

A close confidante of Awami National Party (ANP) chairman Asfandyar WaliKhan, Afzhal Khan, 83, is a staunch opponent of the Taliban and has been in active politics for the past 50 years. He was elected to the national Assembly in 1993and served as Federal Minister for the Northern areas and Kashmir from 1993-1996.

Despite several attempts on his life that involved killings of his relatives and bodyguards, Khan, popularly known as Lala, refused to leave Swat and stayed home when most ANP leadership went underground, fearing assassination attempts by the Taliban. On April 30, Afzal Khan Lala, along with some family members, was airlifted by an army helicopter from his village Bara Darushkhela near Swat. He was first moved to Peshawar and then to Islamabad.

President Asif Ali Zardari awarded him with the Hilal-e-Shujaat, second highest civil award for gallantry. (ANI)

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