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'Why Not India?' Pakistan Faces Backlash From Islamists for Temporarily Hosting US Troops

CC0 / / U.S. Army soldiers prepare to conduct security checks near the Pakistan border at Combat Outpost Dand Patan in Afghanistan's Paktya province (File)
 U.S. Army soldiers prepare to conduct security checks near the Pakistan border at Combat Outpost Dand Patan in Afghanistan's Paktya province (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.08.2021
The Pentagon has announced an end to the US military presence in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years there, as the last American troops departed Afghan soil. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later said that the US would continue to coordinate with the Taliban* on the evacuation of Afghans and any American citizens left behind.
The Pakistani government has come under fire from a leading Islamist outfit and other observers for agreeing to host American troops transiting the nation after their withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan.
In a series of tweets in Urdu, Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) chief Siraj ul Haq wondered as to why India wasn't the one to host the exiting American troops.
"India is America's strategic partner in the region. Why didn't the United States get this facility from there? To date, the US president has not considered it appropriate to talk to the Pakistani leadership…", Haq stated on 29 August.
"US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has recently spoken to his Indian counterparts more often than the Pakistani leadership", he added.
FILE PHOTO: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace in Kabul - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.06.2021
‘Absolutely Not’: Imran Khan Swats Down CIA Request to Use Pakistani Bases for Afghanistan Ops
The JeI chief also demanded further details about these US troops and other foreigners being hosted by Islamabad, as he feared that they may pose a "national security threat".
Haq's concerns are being echoed by Pakistani social media users, who took the opportunity to remind Prime Minister Imran Khan of his pledge to not allow US bases in the country once the coalition forces concluded the troop withdrawal process.
"Absolutely not… There's no way we are going to allow any bases or any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not", the Pakistani prime minister told HBO Axios in June, when responding to a question if he would allow the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to use Pakistani bases to conduct counter-terror operations in Afghanistan.
​The mounting domestic criticism has prompted Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad to issue a clarification that the US troops lodged in hotels in Islamabad are in the country on transit visas and there were no plans to host them permanently. 
The Dawn cited Ahmad as saying on Tuesday that the "foreigners" staying in the country had been issued 21-30 day visas. The Pakistani federal minister also rejected criticism that Prime Minister Imran Khan's government had readily agreed to host American troops due to pressure from Washington, DC.
Pakistani authorities on 26 August called upon border management personnel to issue transit visas for non-Afghan foreigners leaving Afghanistan, merely hours after the deadly suicide bombing at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport left 13 US soldiers and hundreds of Afghans dead. The attack has been claimed by the Daesh-K* terrorist group.
In a separate directive issued by the district authorities in Islamabad, officials instructed all hotels in the capital city to stop accepting bookings for the next three weeks starting 28 August to accommodate Afghan evacuees transiting Pakistan.
*The Taliban and Daesh-K are terrorist organisations banned in Russia and many other nations.
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