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Imran lashes out at trump, says US making Pak scapegoat of its failure

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Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan lashed out at US President Donald Trump following his remarks that Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing” for the United States despite billions of dollars in US aid for the South Asian nation.

The friction threatens to further worsen already fragile relations between Islamabad and Washington, on-off allies who have repeatedly clashed about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s alleged support for Islamist militants.

Khan, who assumed power in August and is known for his fiery anti-American rhetoric, said in a series of tweets that “record needs to be put straight on Trump’s tirade against Pakistan” over the weekend.

Trump, during a Fox News TV interview aired on Sunday, defended cutting aid to Islamabad and also suggested Pakistani authorities knew Osama bin Laden’s location prior to his killing by U.S. troops in a raid inside Pakistan in 2011.

Pakistan denies supporting Afghan Taliban insurgents waging war against U.S.-backed troops in Afghanistan and Islamabad has also always rejected claims officials aided former al Qaeda leader bin Laden.

“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 & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” Khan tweeted.

Trump, in a pre-recorded interview, said bin Laden had been living in “a nice mansion” in Pakistan next to a military academy and “everybody in Pakistan knew he was there”.

“And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year. …(bin Laden) lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year – which we don’t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”

Khan said Pakistan had borne the brunt of the United States’ war on terror, which focused on militants that straddle the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal belt.

“No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror,” Khan said. “Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US “aid” was a minuscule $20 bn.”

Khan also pointed out that Pakistan continued to provide its roads and air space for the re-supply for more than 10,000 US troops currently based in Afghanistan.

“Can MTrump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?”


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Resolving 26/11 Mumbai attacks case in Pak interest, says Imran Khan

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Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he has asked his government to ascertain the status of the 2008 Mumbai attacks case as it is in Pakistan’s interest to resolve the matter.

India repeated its calls for the prosecution of the masterminds and facilitators of the attacks on the 10th anniversary of the carnage blamed on the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), saying Pakistan had shown “little sincerity in bringing the perpetrators to justice”.

“We also want something done about the bombers of Mumbai. I have asked our government to find out the status of the case. Resolving that case is in our interest because it was an act of terrorism,” Khan said in an interview with The Washington Post.

The trial in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court of seven suspects, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, has stalled and Pakistani officials have said more evidence is needed from India to take things forward. India has insisted that there is sufficient proof to prosecute the suspects.

Khan, who spoke about Pakistan taking two steps for peace for every step taken by India in his first speech after his party won the general election in July, referred to the reasons why he believes his peace overtures had been rejected by New Delhi.

“I know, because India has elections coming up. The ruling party has an anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistan approach. They rebuffed all my overtures,” he said.

“I have opened a visa-free peace corridor with India called Kartarpur (so that Indian Sikhs can visit a shrine in Pakistan). Let’s hope that after the election is over, we can again resume talks with India,” he said, referring to the recent launch of work on a corridor that will link Dera Baba Nanak in India to Kartarpur gurdwara in Pakistan.

Khan also dismissed the oft-repeated contention of US officials that the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is based in Pakistan. “When I came into power, I got a complete briefing from the security forces. They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, ‘Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?’ There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.”

Referring to camps for Afghan refugees, he added: “If there are a few hundred, maybe 2,000 to 3,000 Taliban who move into Pakistan, they could easily move into these Afghan refugee camps.”

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US should stay in Afghanistan or face another 9/11: Gen. Dunford

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Washington : The United States should continue its military presence in Afghanistan if it wishes to prevent future attacks similar to what happened on September 11, 2001, the top US military officer has warned.

Speaking at an event organized by the Washington Post on Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford said pulling American and NATO forces out of Afghanistan was not a good idea.

“Leaving Afghanistan in my judgment would give the terrorist groups the space with which to conduct operations against the American homeland and its allies,” Dunford said.

“It is our assessment that in a period of time… [the terror groups] would have in the future the capability to do what they did on 9/11,” he said.

Almost 3,000 people were killed on September 11, 2001 when 19 hijackers – 15 of them Saudis — with alleged ties to al-Qaeda terrorist group flew two passenger aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and a third plane into the Pentagon building in northern Virginia.

The United States “cannot win militarily” in Afghanistan, General Austin Scott Miller has conceded.

The war paved the way for the Daesh terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Libya, to develop a base in Afghanistan as well.

Dunford, however, said his top priority was not to ensure Afghanistan’s security and stability, but to “make recommendations for the deployment of military force that protects the American people, the homeland and our allies.”

“The presence that we have in Afghanistan has, in fact, disrupted the enemy’s ability to reconstitute and pose a threat to us,” Dunford said.

Last month, Dunford admitted that the Taliban “are not losing” in Afghanistan and much more needs to be done to bring peace to the war-torn country.

He said back then that there was no “military solution” to peace in Afghanistan.

This is while US President Donald Trump’s strategy for the long-running war revolves around bringing more troops and use them to force a political resolution to militant groups.

The new strategy, unveiled last year, announced an increase in US troop levels, bringing the total number of foreign foot soldiers in the country to about 14,000.

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Over half of global population now online: UN

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GENEVA: Some 3.9 billion people are now using the Internet, meaning that for the first time more than half of the global population is online, the United Nations said.

The UN agency for information and communication technologies, ITU, said that by the end of 2018 a full 51.2 per cent of people around the world will be using the Internet.

“By the end of 2018, we will surpass the 50/50 milestone for Internet use,” ITU chief Houlin Zhou said in a statement.

“This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society,” he said, adding though that “far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy.” He called for more support to “technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline.” According to ITU, the world’s richest countries have been showing slow and steady growth in Internet use, which has risen from 51.3 per cent of their populations in 2005 to 80.9 per cent now.

The gains have meanwhile been more dramatic in developing countries, where 45.3 per cent of people are currently online, compared to just 7.7 per cent 13 years ago.

Africa has experienced the strongest growth, with a more than 10-fold hike in the number of Internet users over the same period, from 2.1 per cent to 24.4 per cent, the ITU report showed.

The report also showed that while fixed-line telephone subscriptions continue to dwindle worldwide, to a current level of just 12.4 per cent, the number of mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions is now greater than the global population.

And it found that mobile broadband subscriptions have skyrocketed from just four subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2007 to 69.3 today.

There are currently a full 5.3 billion active mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide, ITU found.

At the same time, the report said that nearly the entire world population, a full 96 per cent, now lives within reach of a mobile cellular network, and 90 per cent of people can access the Internet through a 3G or higher speed network.

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