US President referred to PM Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, wondering who would use it in that country
US President Donald Trump on January 2 mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, suggesting it was of no use.
In his first Cabinet meeting of the year, the US President referred to PM Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, wondering who would use it in that country.
"Why is not Russia there (in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban)? Why isn't India there? Why isn't Pakistan there? Why are we (US) there? We are 6,000 miles away. But I don't mind. We want to help our people. We want to help other nations," Trump told reporters in response to a question during the Cabinet meeting.
The US President cited India's efforts towards peace and development in Afghanistan but alleged that the countries were not doing enough in the war-ravaged country and that they were taking advantage of the United States.
Asserting that the Afghan war costs billions of dollars to the US, Trump said, "I want people to treat us fairly". He noted that heads of countries have told him that they are involved in the peace process by "just sending some 100 or 200 soldiers".
The US President referred to his friendly terms with Prime Minister Modi, but appeared critical of a library funded by India in Afghanistan.
"I could give you an example where I get along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi. But he is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan. Library! That's like five hours of what we spend (in Afghanistan)," Trump told his cabinet colleagues.
"And he (Modi) tells me. He is very smart. We are supposed to say, oh thank you for the library. Don't know who's using it (the library) in Afghanistan. But it's one of those things. I don't like being taken advantage of," he said.
Trump drew a comparison between the expenses being borne by the US and other countries in the Afghan peace efforts.
"What other countries have done for the last long period of time is given us some soldiers and then talk about it like it's the end of the world. And we are subsidizing their military is by billions and billions and billions of dollars, many, many, many times, what those soldiers cost that country," the US President said.
Responding to a question, he said he wants India to be involved in Afghanistan.
Asked if India's role in Afghanistan was going to be security related, Trump said, “I think India should be involved in Afghanistan. I mean I'll give you an example. You can talk about our generals. I gave our generals all of the money they wanted, they didn't do such a great job in Afghanistan. They've been fighting in Afghanistan for 19 years."
Trump last month moved to cut by half the 14,000-strong force in Afghanistan, calling for less spending overseas.
Alluding in Wednesday's remarks to the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Trump said: "Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan."
Without going into details, Trump asserted that he is going to do work out something good in Afghanistan. “We are going to do something that's right. We are talking to the Taliban, we are talking to a lot of different people,” he said.(With inputs from PTI)