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.
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.”
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.