The United States cut off key military funding to Pakistan, while Trump alleges Pakistan harboured Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts, flying in the face of deep and long-standing security cooperation between the two countries.
Pakistan summoned the US ambassador in Islamabad on Tuesday, November 20th to express its strong reservations over President Donald Trump’s allegation that Pakistan had provided refuge to Osama bin Laden.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, November 18, Trump claimed that “everybody in Pakistan” was aware that Bin Laden was there, irrespective of the $1.3 billion per year in military aid to Pakistan.
Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2018
He reiterated his statement Monday on Twitter, creating an uproar in Pakistan.
....We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another. They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return. That’s ENDING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2018
No more defence aid for Pakistan
Only earlier this year, the United States cut-off more than $1.6 billion in military aid to Pakistan according to a presidential order.
“They don't do anything for us, they don't do a damn thing for us," Trump told Fox News, explaining his reasoning behind cutting off the aid.
Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan shot back at Trump on Twitter, stating that Pakistan was the victim of over 75,000 deaths and lost over $123 billion because of the United State’s “War on Terror”, though no Pakistani nationals were involved in the plot and execution of the tragic events of 9/11.
Record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump's tirade against Pakistan: 1. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror. 2. Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US "aid" was a miniscule $20 bn.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 19, 2018
Khan also pointed to key logistics routes Pakistan provided US forces, asking,“Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?”
The main supply route for US forces in Afghanistan runs directly through Pakistan.
Imran Khan went on to add that the United States only provided a "minuscule" $20 billion in military aid.
Did Pakistan know about Osama bin Laden?
Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tahmina Janjua warned US Ambassador Paul Jones that the “baseless rhetoric … was totally unacceptable”, while expressing that Trump’s remarks “could seriously undermine” Pakistani-US security cooperation.
Janjua reiterated that “no country has paid a heavier price than Pakistan in the fight against terrorism”, while pointing out that the US has admitted on several occasions that Pakistani intelligence was instrumental in helping the US find Bin Laden.
“Trump's narrative is the same as much of the US narrative. It claims that we have done this for Pakistan, and it hasn’t done enough. Trump has his own brazen manner of saying things. Pakistan's response is consistent with what Islamabad has always maintained.
We have done enough; you can't scapegoat Pakistan for your failures; it's time for you to do more,” said Said Ejaz Haider, a defence analyst from Pakistan speaking to TRT World.
Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in a May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan where he lived in an isolated compound near a military academy.
Pakistan had denied it was aware of his location prior to the US assault on the compound in the dead of night.
Dr Shakil Afridi, who ran a fake public health campaign in Abbottabad while working with the CIA, to confirm the al Qaeda leader’s location via DNA evidence, was arrested two weeks after the raid. Several US officials had confirmed his role in the fake campaign to gather information that lead to confirmation of OBL's location.
US Congressman Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the Obama administration had doomed Dr Afridi by leaking details of the vaccination ruse to the media. "They put him out there," said Mr King. "I'm focused on that they disclosed his identity."
Cooperating with a foreign intelligence agency is illegal in Pakistan and the crime is punishable by death under the country's penal code. But since Afridi was charged under the British-era Frontier Crime Regulations he was handed a 33 year sentence.
Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where the crippling polio virus remains an endemic.
Scores of polio vaccinators in Pakistan have comeunder the attack of militantswho used Dr Shakil Afridi's alleged fake campaign as an excuse to target the social workers.
The raid is also controversial in Pakistan however, given that the US effectively violated Pakistani sovereignty without permission to conduct the operation.
The US had sent in two state-of the art helicopters equipped with stealth technology for the raid.
As the choppers approached OBL's compound they came under fire from the Al Qaeda leader's guards following which one helicopter suffered "technical difficulties" and was left behind by the US Navy Seals team who blew it up on their exit from the scene.
By then news of the raid was broadcast on local media but it was only the next day that details of the target were revealed following the announcement from then-US President Barack Obama.
It remains a mystery as to how the second helicopter was allowed to leave the heavily garrisoned area which is considered a stones-throw away from the Pakistan Military Academy.
Pakistan later returned the fuselage of the destroyed helicopter to the US.
Before his election, Trump promised he would facilitate the release of Dr Afridi, maintaining it would take him “two minutes”.
The US has cut aid to Pakistan over Dr Afridi in the past as well. And there have been several reports published this year that suggest the possibility of an early release for Dr Afridi.
Meanwhile, following Trump's latest "tirade," Imran Khan criticised the US for attempting to “scapegoat” Pakistan for its failed war in Afghanistan which it has waged for nearly 18 years.
Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 19, 2018
The Taliban are currently at their strongest since the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.