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Imran Khan said ‘absolutely not’ to US. But its troops are in Pakistan, and no one knows why

Some feared the return of 'Musharraf days' as US troops were spotted at Islamabad airport after Imran Khan had said that he will 'absolutely not' let the CIA in.

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New Delhi: The landing of a United States military plane carrying American troops in Islamabad has created a huge furore on Twitter, with many Pakistanis bashing Prime Minister Imran Khan for walking back a statement he made recently.

In an interview on HBO’s documentary news series Axios, Khan had said, “Pakistan will “absolutely not” allow the CIA to use bases on its soil for cross-border counterterrorism missions after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan”.

Many applauded Khan’s stance and praised him for his brave response, even making the term #AbsolutelyNot go viral on Twitter at that time.

Although Khan’s response was to a question specifically about the CIA, the image of a recent landing of a plane carrying dozens of US soldiers at Islamabad airport has people slamming Khan for not standing by his words. While some feared the return of “Musharraf days”, others felt their country was not rewarded for the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.

As per local media reports, these soldiers will be accommodated in different hotels in Islamabad but it is still not clear for how long they will be staying there.

Questioning why the US forces have not gone directly to their country or via Qatar like they used to, a user asked if they were back in the days of General Musharraf.

While another wrote, ‘Thankfully, Pakistan’s nose is so high today that the United States cannot dare to invade your country, but is taking refuge. Otherwise, no one has forgotten the Abbottabad operation after the Musharraf era’.

It refers to the US operation in Pakistan’s Abbottabad, where their Navy SEALs found Osama Bin Laden in a compound and killed him on 2 May 2011. Following this, several allegations were made against the Pakistan government for sheltering and hiding some of the high-profile terrorists in their territory.

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has called the “Abbottabad operation” a big embarrassment for the country but had denied knowledge of anything related to Osama Bin Laden’s presence in the country.

Arshad Sharif, a news anchor at Ary News and host of the channel’s prime time show called “Power play”, expressed anger over Pakistan not being rewarded “for hosting US, UK, NATO troops” as he claimed that the Indian Air Force has bagged a deal worth $328 million with the United States amid the evacuation process in Afghanistan.

He wrote, “Amid C-130Js’ help in #Afghanistan evacuations, #India’s #IAF signed $328 mn deal with US. What did #Pakistan get for hosting #US #UK, #NATO troops? Red list of #UK? Ban on #PIA by #EU? Did anyone negotiate on behalf of #Pakistanis or got money for offshore accounts?”.

However, one user said the US troops have just landed at Islamabad airport after their evacuation from Afghanistan and will leave after a few days.

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