Trump mocks Modi over funding for Afghan library

US President Donald Trump (left) mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, suggesting it was of no use.
US President Donald Trump (left) mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, suggesting it was of no use.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, suggesting it was of no use.

Mr Trump brought up India's aid during a press appearance at a Cabinet meeting as he defended his push for the United States to invest less overseas.

While stating that he got along with Mr Modi, he said the Indian leader was "constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan".

"You know what that is? That's like five hours of what we spend," Mr Trump said. "I don't know who's using it in Afghanistan."

It was unclear which project he was referring to, but India has committed US$3 billion (S$4 billion) in assistance to Afghanistan since US-led forces toppled the extremist Taleban regime after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks.

Projects have included the reconstruction of an elite high school and scholarships to India for 1,000 Afghan students each year.

Mr Modi in 2015 promised to promote programmes "empowering Afghan youth with modern education and professional skills".

Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav said on Twitter that India was "building lives" in Afghanistan.

"Trump should know that while he is decrying every other help in (Afghanistan), India has been building not only libraries, but roads, dams, schools and even Parliament building."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2019, with the headline 'Trump mocks Modi over funding for Afghan library'. Print Edition | Subscribe