ISLAMABAD: The Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) on Sunday in a statement demanded ‘The Times’ a clarification and retraction from its misleading and frivolous interpretation of NSA Dr Moeed Yusuf’s interview with journalist Christina Lamb.
The NSA in a media release issued here said it was compelled to state that 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 August 28, 2021 which wrongly interpreted the interview of NSA Dr Moeed Yusuf.
According to a report published in The Nation, Lahore, the story’s sub-title reads, “Risk a second 9/11 if you don’t recognize Afghanistan’s new leaders, Pakistan’s national security adviser warns”. This connotation was fabricated and total 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,” it added. Ms. Lamb interviewed the NSA on record in his office in Islamabad on Friday, 27 August 2021. At no point he did 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 sent to the newspaper for publication 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,” the NSD statement demanded.
Three weeks ago, the NSA’s statement in US media triggered backlash after he was quoted in US Media, claiming he had complained about US President Joe Biden not calling Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Moeed Yusuf had categorically denied those reports. Moeed Yusuf was talking to media in the US capital after holding discussions with senior Biden administration officials, including NSA Jake Sullivan, on the evolving security situation in the region in light of the escalating Afghanistan violence. In an interview with the Financial Times earlier this week, Yusuf had said that Washington’s lack of initiative to interact with Islamabad is beyond his understanding.
“The president of the United States hasn’t spoken to the prime minister of such an important country who the US itself says is make-or-break in some cases, in some ways, in Afghanistan — we struggle to understand the signal, right?” reportedly Moeed Yusuf had told the UK paper.