Pakistan’s Khan Fires Back After Trump’s ‘Tirade’
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has hit back at Donald Trump’s claim that Islamabad does not do “a damn thing” for the Unites States, calling on the U.S. president to name an ally that has sacrificed more in the fight against militancy.
Khan tweeted on November 19 that his country had suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123 billion in the “US War on Terror” that followed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, despite the fact that no Pakistanis were involved in these attacks.
He also wrote that the United States has only provided a “miniscule” $20 billion in aid.
Trump has slashed nearly $800 million in military assistance to Pakistan this year, saying it has not done enough to eliminate safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network within its borders.
The Trump administration has vowed to freeze other forms of security assistance, bringing the total of security funds that could be held back to at least $1.3 billion.
Pakistan rejects allegations it is not doing enough to fight terrorism and that it provides safe havens for militants operating in Afghanistan.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News aired on November 18, said his administration had withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Islamabad “because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
He said “everybody in Pakistan” knew Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was there and no one said anything despite the United States providing $1.3 billion a year in aid.
Bin Laden was killed in 2011 during a raid by U.S. Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
His hideout was located just a short distance away from one of Pakistan’s most prestigious military academies.
‘Devastated’ Tribal Areas
“Record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan,” Khan wrote in a series of tweets defending his country’s record in the war on terror.
“No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror,” he wrote, adding that his country “suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US ‘aid’ was a miniscule $20 bn.”
“Our tribal areas were devastated & millions of [people] uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted lives of ordinary Pakistanis,” he continued.
The Pakistani prime minister also pointed out that his country continues to provide the United States with supply lines into Afghanistan, adding, “Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?”
Instead of making Pakistan “a scapegoat for their failures,” Washington should do a serious assessment of “why the Taliban today are stronger than before,” Khan concluded.
As part of Trump’s effort to resolve the 17-year war in Afghanistan, Washington has escalated pressure on Pakistan, whose assistance the U.S. believes is needed to compel the Taliban to agree to negotiate with the government in Kabul.
The insurgents have so far declined government overtures for peace talks this year, and instead have escalated violence against U.S. and Afghan forces.