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Pentagon defends Pakistan’s ‘critical’ role in South Asia after Twitter feud between Trump and PM Khan

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 20, 2018 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Nov 20, 2018 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Pentagon defends Pakistan’s ‘critical’ role in South Asia after Twitter feud between Trump and PM Khan

There has been no change in US and Pakistan's military relationship

The Twitter war between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump took a different turn Tuesday morning after the Pentagon termed Pakistan as its ‘critical partner’.

Defense Press Operations Director Colonel Rob Manning, while speaking to reporters during an off-camera news conference, remarked that Pakistan remains a critical partner to America’s South Asia strategy.

“The US and Pakistan have a strong mutual interest in the region. As you know, they are critical [and] vital to the South Asia strategy and including the facilitation of a peace process that would lead to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan,” he remarked.

Related: Paid Pakistan billions of dollars and they never told us Laden was living there: Trump

They remain a critical partner in our South Asia strategy and there’s been no change to our military-to-military relationship with Pakistan, he said while responding to a question about the series of tweets by Trump.

On Monday, the social media was on fire following high-octane exchanges between Trump and Prime Minister Khan.

It started with Trump’s interview with Fox News. He remarked that aid to Pakistan was slashed because “they don’t do a damn thing for us”.

“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. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us,” he said.

Later on, he reiterated his stance on Twitter. “They [Pakistan] were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return,” Trump tweeted. “We paid Pakistan billions of dollars and never told us he [Osama bin Laden] was living there.”

Related: Don’t make Pakistan a scapegoat for your failures, PM Khan tells US President Trump

Prime Minister Imran Khan was quick to respond and felt the need to “set the record straight”. He requested the US to stop making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures.

“Pakistan suffered 75,000 causalities in this war [against terrorism],” PM Khan said, adding that the country’s economy suffered a loss of $123 billion. “US aid was a minuscule $20 billion,” he added. “Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?”

However, PM Khan didn’t comment on the US president’s claim that Pakistan knowingly sheltered Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

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