President Donald Trump has vowed to cut aid totalling to $225 million to Pakistan for failing to act against terror groups operating on its soil. In a strongly worded first tweet of the new year President Trump said the US had “foolishly given” Pakistan more than $33 billion dollars in aid over 15 years. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
The US has been tightening the screws on Pakistan for not cracking down on groups such as the LeT and Haqqani Network, which targets American forces in Afghanistan.
A National Security Council official on Monday said the White House does not plan to send $255 million in aid to Pakistan “at this time” and said “the administration continues to review Pakistan’s level of cooperation.” In August, the administration had said it was delaying the payment.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khawaja M. Asif, wrote on Twitter “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction.”
In his new South Asia Policy in August, Trump had called for tougher measure against Pakistan if it fails to cooperate with the US in its fight against terrorism.
“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists,” Trump had said in his South Asia Policy speech.
Noting that in the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner, Trump had accused it of providing shelter to the same organisations that try every single day to kill Americans. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately,” Trump had said.
Pakistan has repeatedly denied that there are any terrorist safe havens inside its territory. Both its officials in Islamabad and inside the United Nations in New York assert that there are no terrorist safe havens. However, the top American leadership insists that there has been no change in Pakistani behaviour on this front that that it is fast running out of patience.