NEW DELHI: Another 9/11 is possible if the West doesn't engage with the Taliban or repeats the mistakes of the 90s, Pakistan's national security adviser Moeed Yusuf has warned, according to UK's The Times. In an interview with The Times' Christina Lamb, Yusuf said “Mark my words... If the mistakes of the nineties are made again and Afghanistan abandoned, the outcome will be absolutely the same - a security vacuum filled by undesirable elements who will threaten everyone, Pakistan and the West.”
The publication carried the interview with the sub-headline "Risk a second 9/11 if you don’t engage with Afghanistan’s new leaders, Pakistan’s national security adviser warns." On Sunday, Yusuf's office issued a statement that The Times retract what it termed a "frivolous interpretation" of the interview. It termed the British publication's story as a "gross mischaracterization" of the conversation that took place between journalist Lamb and Yusuf.
"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," the statement added. The Taliban are believed to have deep links with the Pakistani establishment, its military and intelligence wings. Pakistan is among the only three countries - the other two being Saudi Arabia and UAE - that recognised Afghanistan's Taliban regime that held power between 1996 and 2001, before being toppled by the US.