In a scathing attack, President Donald Trump
on Monday accused Pakistan
of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” in return for $33-billion aid and said Islamabad
has provided “safe haven” to terrorists.
“The United States
has foolishly given Pakistan
more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump
said in a strongly worded tweet. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump
said in his first tweet of the year.
This is the strongest attack that has come from the US president.
His remarks came days after the New York
Times reported that the US is considering withholding $225-million in aid to Pakistan
reflecting its dissatisfaction with the latter’s reluctance in the war against terrorism.
In November, the US had strongly condemned release of the Mumbai attack
mastermind Hafiz Saeed
and had demanded his immediate re-arrest and prosecution, warning that there would be “repercussions” for bilateral ties if Islamabad
fails to take “decisive action” against the JuD chief.
Saeed, who carries a $10-million American bounty on his head for terror activities, walked free after the Pakistan government
decided against detaining him further in any other case. 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 earlier 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. “No partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan
to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace," he had said.
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. In December, the Pentagon warned Pakistan
of unilateral action if Islamabad
did not act.
In a surprise visit to Afghanistan before Christmas, US Vice President Mike Pence
had issued a stern warning to Pakistan, for which using non-state actors against its two neighbours - India and Afghanistan - has been part of its national security policy.
"For too long Pakistan
has provided safe haven to the Taliban
and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over," Pence told American troops at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan where he made an unannounced trip on December 21.
Afghanistan's Ambassador to the US Hamdullah Mohib welcomed Trump's tweet.
"A promising message to Afghans who have suffered at the hands of terrorists based in Pakistan
for far too long," Mohib tweeted.