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IMRAN’S OWN GOAL SYNDROME

Global twitterati has been regaled by the recent Twitter spat between the US President, Mr. Trump and the Pakistani Premier, Mr. Imran Khan regarding the deplorable role of Pakistan in the War on Terror.

Goal!

          Mr. Trump had alleged that Islamabad did not adequately support the War on Terror and had even given asylum to some of the most high profile global terrorists in Pakistani soil including Osama bin Laden. He further stated that Pakistan has defaulted repeatedly on its promise to cease and desist its military’s unholy dance with radical Islamist terror organizations esp. the Taliban and the Al Qaeda backed Haqqani network. Referring to bin Laden and his hideout in Abbottabad, Trump in an interview to Fox News on 18 November, 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. But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there“. He added “And we give Pakistan USD 1.3 billion a year. … (Laden] lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them USD 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.” he said. Mr. Trump had also tweeted- “…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!

Counter Goal?  

          Mr. Khan, who is widely considered as a stooge of the powerful Pakistani military establishment and reportedly rode to power on his anti-US rhetoric, was quick to reply to Mr. Trump’s accusations. He rebutted by tweeting – “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.”

He followed up with further tweets saying – “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 and reportedly $1 trillion spent on a war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than ever before.” Khan also highlighted how the war devastated Pakistan’s tribal areas and uprooted millions of Pakistanis from their homes. He said that Pakistan continues to provide free Ground Lines of Communications (GLoC) and Air Lines of Communications (ALoC) to the US. “Can Mr. Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” he said.

 No… It was an Own-Goal!

           Imran Khan has, as usual, got his facts wrong. The answer to his question is not difficult as long as one is subservient to Rawalpindi. One of the key reasons behind the prolongation of Afghan War can be traced to Pakistan’s not-so-secret support to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. When Imran replied, “No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pakistan decided to participate in the US war on terror”; he was very much aware that Pakistan chose to be on America’s side because the US gave then Pakistan’s de facto military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf very few options.

Own Goal! Business as usual with Imran Khan…

          It is a comical state of affairs and glaring idiocy that the Pakistani Premier actually tried to justify Pakistan’s role in giving asylum to the world’s most wanted man, Osama and that Pakistan willingly took 75,000 causalities to protect bin Laden! Even funnier, Mr. Khan actually had the gall to state that a large US and Afghan force has not been able to control the Afghan Taliban. In fact, it is Pakistan who continues to be the culprit throwing the spanner into the machinery fighting the Afghan Taliban. The Pakistani military has taken no serious steps to address the core American concerns that Pakistan tolerates extremist groups which use violence against Pakistan’s neighbors. Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership has, in fact, made numerous promises of cooperation, but they have not resulted in ground action. To further cover up their deceit, Pakistan’s diplomatic and military officials have been recently consumed by issuing demarche after demarche to their American counterparts, to no avail.

Aerial view of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed during a US Special Forces raid in 2011. The compound was situated in a high security zone adjacent to the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy, Abottabad.

Red Card!

          Islamabad cannot blame anyone for recent global hostility. Trump’s demand for compliance is not unusual. While Pakistan suffered a great deal from terrorism by Islamist and jihadist elements, the Pakistani military and its intelligence wing, the infamous ISI has continued to enable terrorist groups to frequently target Pakistan’s two neighbors: India and Afghanistan. After years of soul searching, Pakistan’s security forces had to take tough action against those terrorists who did not comply with ISI (the bad terrorists?!) and hence, threatened the Pakistani State.

But what about the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba and all Pakistan based violent terror outfits (aka The Good Terrorists) whose main focus is not just Pakistan, but also its neighbors? In fact, the U-turn taken by Musharraf immediately after 9/11 attacks was only a tactical move to prevent American fury from wiping out Pakistan’s oversubscribed strategic investment: The Taliban.

 

22 Nov 18/Thursday                                                       Written by Fahd Khan

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