Islamabad, Pakistan: The office of the National Security Advisor of Pakistan has contested Christina Lamb’s article and has demanded immediate retract of the story published in the Sunday Times United Kingdom.
A story titled “Work with the Taliban or Repeat the Horror of the 1990s, West Told,” authored by Christina Lamb was published in The Times on 28 August 2021.
The story’s subtitle reads “Risk a second 9/11 if you don’t recognize Afghanistan’s new leaders, Pakistan’s national security adviser warns”.
The Office of the National Security Adviser is compelled to state that this connotation is fabricated and totally wrongly attributed to the National Security Adviser (NSA). It is a gross mischaracterization of the conversation that took place between Ms. Lamb and the NSA.
Ms. Lamb interviewed the NSA on record in his office in Islamabad on Friday, 27 August 2021. At no point did he state that the West should “immediately recognize” the Taliban, as the article states. Nor was there any “warning” of a second 9/11 linked to formal “recognition” of the Taliban. This is a highly inflammatory mischaracterization of his remarks, one that smacks of unprofessional journalism. It can cause great harm to Pakistan’s true position and interests that are, in reality, aligned with the international community, with whom Pakistan continues to work as a partner in Afghanistan.
To reiterate, absolutely no threat was either intended or made, nor does the NSA subscribe to such inflammatory rhetoric. The NSA clearly stated that the world had acknowledged that abandoning Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1990s was a mistake and presented his view that lessons from the past must be learned. He elaborated that abandonment of Afghanistan will create a security vacuum, and that this can again be filled by international terrorist groups who threaten Pakistan and the West alike. Even the relevant direct quote of the NSA in the article itself confirms this.
The Office of NSA categorically rejects the very obvious and deliberately sensational drift of the article’s title and sub-title and misrepresentation on the issue of “recognition”, which lead readers to a very different conclusion than what was said. They amount to twisting both the words and spirit of the NSA’s remarks.
A formal demand that the story be immediately retracted and this clarification published has been sent to the newspaper by the Pakistan High Commission in the United Kingdom. We have also noted that the author of the article recorded the interview and is welcome to release the entire recording for the readers of the newspaper to hear for themselves the NSA’s full remarks.