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Khan rebukes Trump over 'false' bin Laden claims

Sky News logo Sky News 20/11/2018 Ajay Nair, news reporter
Imran Khan, Donald Trump posing for the camera: US-Pakistan relations have deteriorated further after recent comments © Getty US-Pakistan relations have deteriorated further after recent comments

Imran Khan has fired back at Donald Trump, accusing him of "adding insult to injury" after the American president suggested Pakistan harboured Osama bin Laden despite receiving billions in US aid.

The former cricketer and Pakistani prime minister said his country had suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123bn (£95.7bn) during America's so-called War on Terror despite no one from his country being involved in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Hitting back on Twitter, Mr Khan said the US merely provided a "miniscule" $20bn (£15.6bn) in aid.

Related: Trump's attack on admiral who led bin Laden raid escalates a war of words

Retired Adm. William H. McRaven © Getty Retired Adm. William H. McRaven

"Trump's false assertions add insult to the injury Pak has suffered in US WoT [War on Terror] in terms of lives lost & destabilised & economic costs," he wrote. "He needs to be informed abt historical facts. Pak has suffered enough fighting US's war. Now we will do what is best for our people & our interests."

The US military killed bin Laden during a raid at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011, where he had been living in seclusion near a well-known military school.

a group of people in a park: Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was captured © Getty Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was captured Pakistan denies having any knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts prior to the raid.

The increasing tensions between the Washington and Islamabad follows a Fox News interview on Sunday, which saw the billionaire tycoon say "everybody in Pakistan" knew bin Laden was in their country and that no one said anything despite America providing $1.3bn (£1bn) of aid each year.

President Trump said he cut off aid to the country "because they don't do anything for us, they don't do a damn thing for us".

Osama bin Laden wearing a hat: Pakistan denies having any knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts prior to the raid © Getty Pakistan denies having any knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts prior to the raid He swiped at Pakistan after addressing comments from retired Admiral William McRaven, who led the bin Laden raid. He said Mr Trump's attacks on the media represented "the greatest threat to democracy".

The president dismissed him as a "Hillary Clinton backer" but Admiral McRaven said he did back her or anyone else.

"I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times," he told CNN.

Later on Monday, the president continued his tirade against Pakistan on Twitter, stoking the fire further and branding Pakistan "fools".

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"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," he wrote. "President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!.."

He added: "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!"

The US, along with Afghanistan, has previously accused Pakistan of turning a blind eye to extremists and harbouring Afghan Taliban leaders - claims Pakistan denies.

It points to the heavy toll of its war against the Pakistani Taliban, which has left tribal areas devastated by years of fighting and millions of others forced to flee from their homes.

Mr Khan highlighted the logistical support Pakistan provided the US as it fought in Afghanistan before saying it had made Pakistan a "scapegoat" for its failures during the conflict, with the Afghan Taliban remaining stronger than at any point since the 2001 US-led invasion.

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