Pakistan’s Imran Khan: US ‘martyred’ Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden

Prime minister Imran Khan told the Pakistan’s parliament that Islamabad’s partnership with the United States in the war on terror was a mistake. (Pakistan’s Press Information Department/AFP)
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Updated 26 June 2020

Pakistan’s Imran Khan: US ‘martyred’ Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden

  • Imran Khan delivers stab in a rambling budget speech in parliament
  • ‘We sided with the US in the War on Terror but they came here and killed him, martyred him and’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s prime minister said on Thursday that the United States “martyred” the Al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, a term that reflected a subtle stab at Washington as it’s mainly used for honorable figures slain in battle.
Imran Khan delivered the stab in a rambling budget speech in parliament, attacking his predecessors’ foreign policies and saying that Pakistan’s partnership with the United States in the war on terror was a mistake.
Khan also said Washington used abusive language against Pakistan, blaming Islamabad for its failures in neighboring Afghanistan and most of all — refused to tell Islamabad of its operation against bin Laden in 2011 before carrying out the Navy SEALs nighttime raid. The special operations force swooped into Pakistan’s military garrison town of Abbottabad in the middle of the night on May 2, 2011, killing bin Laden and several of his operatives.
“We sided with the US in the War on Terror but they came here and killed him, martyred him and ... used abusive language against us (and) did not inform us (of the raid), despite the fact that we lost 70,000 people in war on terror,” Khan told Parliament.
Washington has repeatedly accused Pakistan of harboring the Afghan Taliban and giving safe haven to the feared Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate that has been blamed for some major attacks in Afghanistan over the years and declared a terrorist group by the United States. US Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had claimed that the Haqqani network was run by Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, known by its acronym ISI.
Pakistan denied the accusations, saying Washington was blaming Pakistan for the failure of the US-led coalition’s 150,000 soldiers to defeat the Taliban, who are now at their strongest since being toppled in 2001 and rule or hold sway in about 50 percent of Afghanistan.
“The way we supported America in the war on terror, and the insults we had to face in return ... They blamed us for every failure in Afghanistan. They openly held us responsible because they did not succeed in Afghanistan,” Khan said.
However, opposition lawmaker Khwaja Mohammed Asif slammed Khan for calling bin Laden a martyr, saying the Al-Qaeda chief had brought terrorism to Pakistan.
“He (bin Laden) ruined my country but he (Khan) is calling him a martyr,” said Asif.
Since taking over, Khan claimed his government has reset the Pakistan-US relationship, elevating it to one of mutual respect, for which he also credited the personal rapport he has built with President Donald Trump.
“No one insults us now,” said Khan.


Lukashenko: I need to contact Putin, protests not just threat to Belarus

Updated 2 min 42 sec ago

Lukashenko: I need to contact Putin, protests not just threat to Belarus

  • Mass unrest followed Lukashenko’s re-election victory last week

MINSK: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday he wanted to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin, warning street protests were not just a threat to Belarus.
Mass unrest followed Lukashenko’s re-election victory last week, as tens of thousands of people took to the streets accusing him of rigging the vote. “There is a need to contact Putin so that I can talk to him now, because it is not a threat to just Belarus anymore,” he said, according to state news agency Belta.
“Defending Belarus today is no less than defending our entire space, the union state, and an example to others ... Those who roam the streets, most of them do not understand this.”