Prime Minister Imran Khan hit back on Monday at Donald Trump’s claim that Islamabad does not do “a damn thing” for the U.S., calling on the president to name an ally, which has sacrificed more against militancy.
“Record needs to be put straight on Mr. Trump’s tirade against Pakistan,” Khan, a former World Cup cricketer, wrote in a series of tweets defending his country’s record in Washington’s war on terror.
The U.S. president gave an interview to Fox News on Sunday in which he said he cancelled assistance worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan earlier this year because “they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Washington has long pressured Islamabad to crack down on militancy, accusing Pakistan of ignoring or even collaborating with groups that attack Afghanistan from safe havens along the border between the two countries.
Pakistan, which joined the U.S. war on terror in 2001, says it has paid the price for the alliance. “Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. U.S. “aid” was a miniscule $20 bn,” Khan tweeted on Monday. “Our tribal areas were devastated & millions of ppl uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted lives of ordinary Pakistanis.”
He also noted that Pakistan continues to provide the U.S. 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,” the U.S. should do a serious assessment of “why the Taliban today are stronger than before,” he concluded.
Trump also told Fox News host Chris Wallace that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had lived “beautifully in Pakistan and what I guess in what they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer.”
“Living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview.
Bin Laden was found to be hiding in Abbottabad, where he was killed in a raid by U.S. Navy Seals in 2011 in an incident that sent relations between the wayward allies to a new low. Khan did not respond to Trump’s bin Laden comments.