WASHINGTON: United States President Donald Trump on Sunday slammed Pakistan “for doing nothing” for his country, claiming that Pakistan helped shelter former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
In an interview with Fox News, Trump defended his administration’s decision to pull hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan.
He said, “You know, living – think of this – living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer,” referring to bin Laden and his former compound in Abbottabad.
In 2011, the compound was destroyed shortly after the US Naval Special Warfare Development Group forces, in a helicopter raid, killed bin Laden.
“But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,” he added. “And 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 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.”
Trump also plans to visit the US troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan for the first time.
“Well, I think you will see that happen,” the president said after the interviewer reminded that Obama and former President George W Bush had each visited soldiers in war zones. He commented, “There are things that are being planned. We don’t want to talk about it because of — obviously because of security reasons and everything else.”
Meanwhile, Trump said that he was briefed on the audio recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s apparent murder in Turkey, but said he hasn’t listened to it, calling it a “suffering tape” that he was advised not to hear.
“You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “But at the same time we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.” He also said it “takes two to tango” to resolve the conflict in Yemen, where Iranian-backed insurgents are facing off in a proxy war against Saudi-backed forces, noting that “I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also.”
It is pertinent to mention that the US cancelled $300 million in aid to Pakistan this year for its ‘lack of’ decisive action against militant groups.
The cancellation of aid is part of President Trump’s New Year tweet in which he launched a scathing criticism against Pakistan for betraying the US.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” Trump tweeted on New Year’s Day.
Pakistani Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari responded to US President Donald Trump’s recent statement that Pakistan does not do “a damn thing” for the US.
In a tweet, Mazari said Trump’s statement should be a lesson for those Pakistani leaders who kept appeasing the US especially after September 11. Mazari went on to give examples of the appeasement such as the loss of Pakistani lives in the US war on terror, free space to Raymond Davis and other operatives and illegal killings by drone attacks.
Former defence minister of Pakistan Khawaja Asif in his response to Trump said, “We continue to play in blood for what we did for USA from Badaber to fighting wars which weren’t ours.”
“Reinvented our religion to suit US interests, destroyed our tolerant ethos, replaced it with bigotry and intolerance. A relationship of betrayals and sanctions,” Asif asserted.