Trump blames Pakistan for US failures, Imran Khan says
Donald Trump's charge that Pakistan does not do a 'damn thing' for US prompts angry reaction from alienated ally
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused Donald Trump of blaming his country for US failures, after the American president launched another tirade accusing Pakistan of duplicity and hiding Osama bin Laden.
Mr Trump said on Sunday that Pakistan did not “do a damn thing for us” and stood by his decision to cut more than $1 billion a year of military aid to the country.
He also alleged it was well known in Pakistan that bin Laden was hiding in the country before US special forces killed him in a 2011 raid.
US officials accuse Pakistan of continuing to provide a safe haven to Taliban forces fighting the US-backed government in Afghanistan, and harbouring close links with the Haqqani militant network.
Mr Trump’s accusations are his second outspoken attack on Pakistan this year and came weeks after senior US envoys visited to say they wanted to reset relations.
He told Fox News that the world’s most wanted terrorist had been living “beautifully” in “what I guess they considered a nice mansion” in Abbottabad, 120 kilometres north of Pakistan’s capital.
“But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew [bin Laden] was there.
“And we give Pakistan $1.3bn a year … [bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3bn a year. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Mr Khan hit back on Monday, tweeting that Pakistan's tribal areas had been devastated, millions uprooted from their homes and billions lost from the economy.
He wrote: “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 before.”
Earlier, Shireen Mazari, Pakistan’s human rights minister, accused Mr Trump of suffering “conveniently from perpetual historic amnesia”.
Ms Mazari said Mr Trump’s outburst was a lesson to former governments who had tried to appease Washington.
She said Pakistan had endured renditions, illegal drone attacks and operations by CIA paramilitaries because of the US. “The list is endless,” she said.
A recent study by Brown University estimated that more than 23,000 Pakistani civilians and nearly 9,000 security forces have been killed in the War on Terror since the 9/11 attacks in September 2001.
American attempts to isolate and contain Iran and China were also against Pakistan’s interests, Ms Mazari said.
A former foreign minister rejected Mr Trump’s comments too, saying the country had paid for working with America since helping the US defeat the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
“We continue to pay in blood for what we did for the USA,” said Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
Mr Trump previously enraged Pakistan with his first tweet of this year, when he said America had “foolishly” given billions in aid, to be repaid with “nothing but lies and deceit”.
Updated: November 19, 2018 05:24 PM