Soleimani's Assassination Was 'The Single Biggest Thing in My Life', Imran Khan Allegedly Told Trump
General Qasem Soleimani, the former head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike at the Baghdad International Airport while he was on his way to meet Iraq's prime minister in January 2020. The assassination was condemned by Tehran as a terrorist act that saw the slain commander hailed as a "martyr".
The drone strike ordered by former US President Donald Trump on 3 January 2020, to take out Iran's foremost military commander General Qasem Soleimani amazed Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan so much so that he described it as "the single biggest thing" to have ever happened in his life, a book claims.
The revelation was made in a new book called "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, both of them reporters at The Washington Post.
The new book on the former US president's last year in office seeks to give readers "a forensic account of the most devastating year in a presidency like no other", as per the publisher. The tome is based on interviews with former Trump staffers and others close to the ex-president.
The aforementioned conversation with Prime Minister Khan was ostensibly narrated by Trump himself during an interview at the former president's Mar-a-Logo resort in Florida.
"I was with Khan of Pakistan. A great athlete. Did you know he was the Mickey Mantle of cricket? He was a great athlete, handsome guy, and I met with him", Trump reportedly told Rucker and Leonning.
According to Trump's recollection, Imran told him: "President, I have been through a lot in my life. I have been a star".
"When Soleimani was taken out it was the single biggest thing I can ever remember happening in my life", Trump purportedly quoted the Pakistani prime minister as remarking.
Neither Trump, nor Khan have confirmed or denied whether the conversation ever took place.
Prime Minister Khan met Trump on 21 January 2020 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which was more than two weeks after Soleimani's killing.
Trump justified the drone strike alleging that the former Iranian commander was involved in terrorist acts from London to New Delhi and carried out attacks against US personnel.
"General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more", a Pentagon statement about the US strike said. "This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans", the Pentagon added.
The assassination prompted Iran, who denounced the killing as "state terrorism", to launch ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops, and pushed Tehran and Washington to the brink of war.