President Donald Trump lashed-out at Pakistan PM Imran Khan and defended his administration’s decision to halt hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid stating that Pakistan has not done ‘a damn thing for us’. PM Imran Khan counter-attacked Donald Trump stating: Pakistan had suffered enough fighting terrorism on behalf of the United States.
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In an interview with Fox News, Trump accused Pakistan of helping to hide Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who was eventually killed in a raid by the US Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011. Bin Laden’s hideout was located just a few meters from Pakistan Military Academy, regarded as one of the most prestigious military academies in the country.
“We gave $1.3 billion a year, but Bin Laden lived in there, we are supporting Pakistan, we are giving them $1.3 billion 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.”
Moreover, Trump said Pakistan had not complied to curb terrorism in Afghanistan. The US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the war against terrorism was a matter of extraordinary importance to America. According to Financial Express, Bolton said “the US wanted Pakistan to fully cooperate fully in the war against terrorism. It was before my time, but the Trump administration did not take the decision to cancel a substantial part of the military aid package to Pakistan lightly.”
Bolton said that the decision was taken knowing full well that Pakistan is a nuclear weapons state.
In September, the Pentagon had said that it would cancel $300 million in military aid to Pakistan. According to Radio Free Europe that came after another $500 million in payments to Islamabad was revoked by the US Congress from the so-called Coalition Support Fund (CSF). Furthermore, the Trump administration has vowed to freeze other forms of security assistance, bringing the total of security funds to being held back to $1.3 billion.
Earlier this year, Trump had expressed his disgust with Pakistan saying that “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan has lambasted President Trump’s criticism and his accusations. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan responded that Pakistan had suffered enough fighting terrorism on behalf of the United States. “Now we will do what is best for our people & our interests,” he tweeted.
Khan said his country had suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123 billion in the ‘US War on Terror’ that followed September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US. This was despite the fact that no Pakistanis were involved in the attacks. He also wrote that the US has only provided a ‘miniscule’ $20 billion in aid.
Moreover, Pakistan has brushed off allegations that it wasn’t doing enough to fight terrorism. The Pakistani prime minister added that his country continues to provide the US with supply lines into Afghanistan and asked, “Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” Khan said instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, Washington should do a serious assessment of ‘why the Taliban today are stronger than before’.
The New York Times has described Khan as a populist politician and a longtime critic of the US policy toward Pakistan. In the past, Khan had accused the Pakistani military of kowtowing to the US.
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