Pakistan summons US envoy to protest Trump’s Bin Laden remarks

President Donald Trump told Fox News that bin Laden had lived ‘beautifully in Pakistan and what I guess in what they considered a nice mansion.’ (REUTERS)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Pakistan summons US envoy to protest Trump’s Bin Laden remarks

  • ‘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’

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday summoned the US Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad to protest against remarks made by President Donald Trump who has criticized Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism fight and the capture of Osama bin Laden.
“The Foreign Secretary called in the US CdA Ambassador Paul Jones to register a strong protest on the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations made against Pakistan,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
President Donald Trump repeated on Monday that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, killed by US Navy SEALs in May 2011, should have been captured much earlier, casting blame on his predecessors and Pakistan.
“Of course, we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did,” the US president tweeted, echoing remarks he gave to “Fox News Sunday” that drew the ire of Pakistan, where bin Laden had been hiding.
“I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center,” he continued.
“President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!”
Ten years after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, bin Laden was found to be hiding in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, where he was killed in a raid by US Navy SEALs approved by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
The assault sent relations between the wayward allies to a new low.
In his interview on Sunday, the Republican leader had said he canceled assistance worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan earlier this year because “they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Trump had also told Fox News that bin Laden had lived “beautifully in Pakistan and what I guess in what they considered a nice mansion. I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan hit back at Trump’s claim, calling on the president to name an ally that has sacrificed more against militancy.
“Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US ‘aid’ was a minuscule $20 bn,” Khan tweeted.
Robert O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL who claims to have fired the shots that killed bin Laden, was terse in his reply.
“The mission to get bin Laden was bipartisan. We all wanted to get him as soon as we could,” tweeted O’Neill, who regularly appears on Fox News as a security expert.
Former director of national intelligence James Clapper was more direct in his criticism of Trump.
“It’s really a slam at the intelligence community, who was responsible for tracking down Osama bin Laden, and reflects, I think, his complete ignorance about what that took,” Clapper told CNN.
Former CIA director John Brennan also hit back at Trump’s remark.
“You constantly remind us how substantively shallow & dishonest you are on so many fronts, which is why we are in such dangerous times,” he wrote on Twitter, quoting Trump’s tweet about bin Laden.


Retired Indian general urges caution against Pakistan strike

Updated 42 min 5 sec ago
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Retired Indian general urges caution against Pakistan strike

  • India has threatened a “crushing response” against deadly suicide bombing in Kashmir that it blamed on Pakistan
  • Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, a veteran in India's war against Kashmiri rebels, urged all sides in the conflict to take a step back

SRINAGAR, India: As India considers its response to the suicide car bombing of a paramilitary convoy in the disputed region of Kashmir that killed dozens of soldiers, a retired military commander who oversaw a much-lauded military strike against neighboring Pakistan in 2016 has urged caution.
A local Kashmiri militant rammed an explosive-laden van into a convoy bus on Thursday, killing 41 soldiers and injuring two dozen others in the worst attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir’s history. India blamed the attack on Pakistan and promised a “crushing response.” New Delhi accuses its archrival of supporting rebels in Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies.
The retired commander, Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, told The Associated Press on Saturday that while “some kind of limited (military) strike (against Pakistan) is more than likely,” he hopes for “rethinking and reconciliation” from all sides in the conflict.
The former general, who was in charge of the army’s northern command at the frontier with Pakistan in Kashmir and counterinsurgency operations, oversaw India’s “surgical strikes” in September 2016 after militants attacked a military base in the frontier town of Uri near the highly militarized Line of Control.
Nineteen Indian soldiers and three assailants were killed in that attack. India instantly blamed Pakistan for supporting the attackers, who New Delhi alleged were Pakistani nationals.
At the peak of a 2016 civilian uprising triggered by the killing of a charismatic Kashmiri rebel leader, Hooda called for all sides to take a step back from the deadly confrontation, suggesting that political initiatives be taken instead. It was a rare move by a top Indian army general in Kashmir.
Later that year when the attack on the base in Uri happened, Hooda commanded what New Delhi called “surgical strikes” against militants in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir — which India said involved the country’s special forces killing an unknown number of insurgents. Pakistan denied that the strikes ever occurred, demanding that India produce evidence to back up the claim.
Hooda has since said that the constant hype of “surgical strikes” was unwarranted.
Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua rejected India’s allegations about Pakistan’s involvement in the attack, saying Saturday that it was part of New Delhi’s “known rhetoric and tactics” to divert global attention from human rights violations. According to foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal, Janjua called for implementation of UN resolutions to solve the issue of Kashmir.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Kashmir be made part of Pakistan or become an independent country. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.
A pre-recorded video circulated widely on social media showed the purported attacker, Adil Ahmed Dar, in combat clothes surrounded by guns and grenades claiming responsibility for the attack and calling for more such measures to drive India out of Kashmir.
Since 2016, soldiers from India and Pakistan have often traded fire along the frontier, blaming each other for initiating the skirmishes that have resulted in the deaths of dozens of soldiers and civilians on both sides in violation of a 2003 cease-fire accord.
Hooda said that considering the state of affairs in Kashmir, he wasn’t surprised by the bombing.
“I just hope this all leads to some introspection, some deep thinking and engagement to do everything afresh and rethink what we all should be doing to settle issues once for all,” he said.
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Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.