In his first major tweet posted in 2018, US President Donald Trump dropped a bombshell by announcing that his country’s long-term ally Pakistan will get no more US aid as it was giving “safe haven to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan”.
His tweet read, “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. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
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. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
The Pakistan government vowed to respond soon.
“We will respond to Trump’s tweet shortly Insha Allah… Will let the world know the truth… Difference between facts and fiction,” tweeted Foreign Minister Khwaja M. Asif.
We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction..
— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) January 1, 2018
Trump’s announcement follows an increasingly tense back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad after the US President unveiled his administration’s National Security Strategy.
He had then reminded Pakistan about its obligation towards helping the US because it got “massive payments” from Washington every year.
“We have made it clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory,” Trump had said. “They have to help.”
Pakistan is also accused by Afghanistan and India of harbouring terrorists ranged against the two countries. Islamabad routinely denies such charges.
The Trump administration has slashed its foreign military financing (FMF) to Pakistan from $255 million to $100 million for the 2018 fiscal, but has kept its options open whether it would be a grant or should be converted into a loan, according to a US official.
“While we may use FMF to leverage loans for some countries, we will still maintain the flexibility to use it as grant assistance where needed,” a state department spokesman said when asked about the budget proposal of $100 million in foreign military funding to Pakistan. “This budget focuses on bilateral FMF assistance requested for Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), and Pakistan ($100 million),” the spokesman said.
(With IANS inputs)