Trump and Khan exchange barbs over Afghanistan

Trump and Khan exchange barbs over Afghanistan
US President Donald Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan have engaged in a bitter exchange over Afghanistan.
3 min read
19 November, 2018
Imran Khan has defended Pakistan following Trump's accusations [Getty]
Outspoken President Donald Trump and Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan have exchanged bitter blows over Afghanistan, after a controversial TV interview with the US leader.

Trump laid into Pakistan during the Fox News segment, which was aired on Sunday, and saw the president defend a decision by the US to cut aid to Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan hadn't done a "damn thing" for America, despite the US pouring billions in aid to the impoverished Asian country.

The Republican right-winger then went to accuse Islamabad of knowingly harbouring al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, before his killing in Pakistan by American special forces in 2011.

"We give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year... (bin Laden) lived in Pakistan, we're supporting Pakistan, we're giving them $1.3 billion a year - which we don't give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don't do a damn thing for us," Trump said in the pre-recorded interview.

He claimed that bin Laden was put up in "a nice mansion" in Abbottabad - close to a military academy - and "everybody in Pakistan knew he was there".

Trump cut $800 million in military aid to Pakistan, with Washington accusing Islamabad of not doing enough to extinguish Afghan militant bases - including Taliban - on the Pakistan border.

The accusation that Pakistan's military and intelligence have directly aided the Taliban, which is at war with US forces in Afghanistan, is a constant accusation levelled at Islamabad by US lawmakers.

Following Trump's tirade, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan fired back at the US leader, and defending Pakistan's role in the so-called "War on Terror".

"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 & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before," Khan tweeted.
"No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 [attacks] but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror," he added.

"Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US 'aid' was a minuscule $20 bn... Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?"

Although Pakistan and the US have fraught relationship, this was one of the fiercest exchange of words between the two countries in years.

In 2006, former Pakistan leader General Musharraf said that shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the US threatened to bomb Pakistan if it did not cooperate.

Afghan and Islamist militants were active in northwestern Pakistan, but a major military offensive managed to weaken the jihadis.