Imran Khan hits back at Trump’s ‘tirade’ against Pakistan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said Donald Trump needs to inform himself about historical facts after the US president alleged that Islamabad did not adequately support the Washington-led “war on terror”.

In a series of statements on Twitter on Monday, Khan listed ways in which Pakistan assisted the US and was impacted by the war, saying the “record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan”.

The comments came a day after Trump defended his decision to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of taking money while allowing former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to hide in the South Asian country.

Khan reacted sharply, recalling the Pakistani lives lost during the “war on terror”, before appearing to suggest the US should look closer to home for responsibility for the continued strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

“1. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak[istan] decided to participate in US War on Terror. 2. Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123bn was lost to the economy. US “aid” was a minuscule $20bn,” Khan posted on Twitter.

Khan said the US has made Pakistan a “scapegoat” for its failures in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are stronger than at any point since the 2001 US-led invasion.

“Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than ever before.”

Khan also highlighted how the war devastated Pakistan’s tribal areas and uprooted millions of Pakistanis from their homes. He said the country continues to provide free lines of ground and air communications to the US.

“Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” he said.

Uncomfortable allies

In an interview with Fox News that aired on Sunday, Trump said Pakistan “don’t do a damn thing” for the US, and once again blamed Pakistan for allegedly sheltering bin Laden.

“He was living in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3bn a year, which we don’t give them any more. By the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us,” he said.

Shortly after Khan’s comments on Monday, Trump took to Twitter again to slam Pakistan.

“We paid Pakistan billions of dollars and they never told us he was living there. Fools! We no longer pay Pakistan the billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another. 

“They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return. That’s ENDING!” Trump posted.

Bin Laden was found to be hiding in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, where he was killed in a raid by US Navy Seals in 2011.

Relations between the two allies have nosedived since Trump took office last year, mainly because of a clash of interests in war-torn Afghanistan. 

Washington accuses Islamabad of providing safe havens to the powerful Haqqani network, which is blamed for numerous attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan in recent years.

Pakistan denies the allegations.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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