US President Donald Trump threatens to pull plug on US aid for Pakistan

January 1, 2018 7:36 pm
President arrives for a New Year’s party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on December 31, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off foreign aid to , accusing Islamabad of harboring violent extremists.
Trump said in his first tweet of 2018 that Washington had “foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.”
“And they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” wrote the US president on Monday.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Washington has long accused Islamabad of allowing militants to operate relatively freely in Pakistan’s porous border regions to carry out operations in neighboring Afghanistan.
Back in August, Trump declared that “Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.”
The US president’s latest tweet comes following an increasingly tense back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad. US-Pakistan ties have taken a nosedive under the Trump administration.
While unveiling his “national security strategy” earlier this month, Trump said that he might cut off the aid for Pakistan for good. “We make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”
During the announcement, Trump said Pakistan needed to fulfill its obligation in countering terror because it received “massive payments” from Washington every year.
“We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help,” he said.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted that his government was preparing a response that “will let the world know the truth.”
“We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth …difference between facts & fiction,” said the tweet.
US Vice President Mike Pence last week told American troops during a visit to Afghanistan that “Trump has put Pakistan on notice.”
Last week, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration was seriously weighing whether to withhold $255 million in already delayed aid to Islamabad over its failure to better crack down on terror groups in Pakistan.
Successive US governments have criticized Pakistan for links with the Taliban and for harboring slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Senior civilian and military officials in Islamabad have frequently said the US government is making Pakistan a scapegoat to cover Washington’s failure in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since the and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror in 2001. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.
This photo taken on February 9, 2017, shows a Pakistani border security soldier standing guard at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan at the Torkham Border Post in Pakistan. (Photo by AFP)
The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The US-led invasion removed the Taliban from power, but US forces have been bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Trump.
During the past 16 years, the Taliban militants have been conducting terrorist attacks across the country, killing and displacing civilians.
In addition, the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has recently managed to take recruits from Afghan Taliban defectors.
Militants are now launching attacks on both Pakistani and Afghan soil.
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