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Pakistan PM Imran Khan claims ex-US President Ronald Reagan compared ‘mujahideens’ to America’s founding fathers, but he’s wrong

Contrary to the claims of Imran Khan, the former US President was speaking about overthrowing the Nicaraguan Government by extending support to the rebels.

During his virtual address at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday (September 24), Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that the former US President Ronald Reagan had compared ‘Afghan mujahideen’ with the founding fathers of the United States.

Imran Khan seemingly inadvertently conceded that Pakistan, along with the United States, was responsible for training the radical Islamists in Afghanistan. “Pakistan and the United States trained Mujahideen groups to fight for the liberation of Afghanistan. Amongst those Mujahideen groups was Al-Qaeda, various groups from all over the world. There were Mujahideen, Afghan Mujahideen. These were considered heroes. President Ronald Regan invited them to the White House in 1983. And according to a news item, he compared them to the founding fathers of the United States. They were heroes,” he alleged.

The video of the Pakistani Prime Minister, making false and outrageous claims, at an international forum has gone viral on social media. On Saturday (September 25), Pakistani journalist Gharidah Farooqi dubbed the faux pas as ‘international embarrassment’ and ‘fake news.’ She remarked, “PM Khan refers to a fake “news item” to launch case at such a prestigious forum! Who wrote speech for PM Khan? Fire him.”

What is the truth?

Human rights activist Saleem Javed also pointed out how Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had quoted an out of context and clipped video to claim that US President Ronald Reagan drew analogies between the Afghan Mujahideen and the founding fathers of the United States. He had also posted the original video clip which was recorded on March 2, 1985. Ronald Reagan had made the remarks during annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Contrary to the claims of Imran Khan, the former US President was speaking about overthrowing the Nicaraguan Government by extending support to the rebels. He had announced $14 million in aid for the Nicaraguan rebels and called them equivalent to the founding fathers of the United States, not Afghan Mujahideen. Although Reagan would frequently refer to the Afghan Mujahideen as ‘freedom fighters,’ he did not draw the same conclusion as he did for the Nicarguan rebels.

“I have recently spoken about the freedom fighters of Nicaraguan. You know the truth about them, you know who they’re fighting and why. They are the moral equal of our Founding Fathers and the brave men and women of the French Resistance. We cannot turn away from them. For the struggle here is not right versus left, but right versus wrong,” the former US President had stated.

Screengrab of the New York Times article

The transcript of the former US President’s comments can be found in the archives of The New York Times.

Imran Khan supporters defend him, come up with bizarre theories

Despite debunking the false information peddled by Pakistan’s Head of State, supporters of Imran Khan continued to defend the misinformation and their leader. One Shahid Pervaiz claimed, “IK made those comments in a broader context but here U go some people r master of twisting things in both cases they were freedom fighter backed & funded by USA! In a way U r discriminating calling ‘Nicaraguan Rebels’ as ‘US Founding Fathers’ & Mujahideen as ‘Freedom Fighters’ !”

Screengrab of the tweet

Another Pakistani Twitter user came up with his own theory. He wrote, “He praised them both in the same speech & if anyone had asked him to clarify whether Mujahedeen were as equal to the Nicaraguan rebels in regard to their association with the founding fathers, I have little doubt that he would have responded in the affirmative. Rest is semantics!”

Screengrab of the tweet

Another Imran Khan supporter alleged, “But PM Khan’s broader point–that the US supported the mujahideen–is 100% true. The US viewed them in the same light as Nicaraguan rebels–two groups fighting Communism. Further the comment of “Founding Fathers” was a continued sentence after mentioning Afghan & then Nicaraguan.

Screengrab of the tweet

Earlier, citing a top-level Pakistan official, Reuters reported that the Pakistanis had decided to send security and intelligence officials, including the head of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, to Afghanistan to help the Taliban reorganise their military. Pakistan intended to help the radical Islamic outfit to re-organise its army and also provide necessary training to the Taliban, largely made up of Pashtun fighters trained in Pakistan madrasas.


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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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