'No more!' Trump tweets to Pakistan, accusing it of 'lies & deceit'

'No more!' Trump tweets to Pakistan, accusing it of 'lies & deceit'

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s defense minister responded angrily Monday to an early-morning tweet by President Trumpthat accused America’s once-close ally of “lies & deceit,” countering that the United States had given Pakistan “invective and mistrust” in return.

In his first tweet of the new year, Trump had said that the United States had “foolishly” given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, “and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”

Trump wrote further: “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan hit back on Twitter, writing that Pakistan, as an “anti-terror ally” of the United States, had given Washington land and air communication, military bases and intelligence cooperation that “decimated Al-Qaeda over the last 16yrs” while America “has given us nothing but invective and mistrust.”

Officials in the country’s capital scrambled to arrange a cabinet meeting to be held Tuesday to adopt a responseto the Twitter attack, while Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in an interview on Geo television that the country is ready to publicly provide an accounting of “every detail” of U.S. aid it has received.

Pakistan was already doing all it could to combat terrorism within its borders, he said.

“We have already told the U.S. that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif said.

The tense exchanges followed days of speculation that the Trump administration — dissatisfied with the way Pakistan has dealt with the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network and other terrorist groups — was set to dramatically reduce aid to the South Asian nation, long a key partner in the region.

Michael Kugelman, deputy director for the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said that Trump may have been likely telegraphing an upcoming decision to reduce aid to the country.

“The Trump administration has been keen to take a harder line on Pakistan but up to this point it hasn’t been clear if the White House would follow through on the threats. This tweet suggests some type of change could be afoot,” Kugelman said.

However, Kugelman added, “We shouldn’t overstate the policy significance of this tweet. It’s more likely to be an expression of frustration or a statement of intent rather than an actual declaration of a new policy.”

According to a November report from the Congressional Research Service, the United States has appropriated $34 billion in direct aid and military reimbursements for Pakistan since 2002, with proposed security and economic assistance at $345 million for this fiscal year. That number is a significant decrease from the $526 million allotted in fiscal year 2017.

In India, news of Trump’s tweet was met with celebration in some quarters, a healthy dose of skepticism in others. Analysts pointed out that in October Trump had tweeted that the administration was “starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders.”

This worried Indian officials who had hoped Trump would be taking a stronger stance on Pakistan.

The good will appears to have flagged for a variety of reasons; administration officials, for example, were reportedly not happy that Pakistan freed Hafiz Mohammad Saeed from house arrest in November. The Islamist cleric — who led the militant group that conducted the terror attack on Mumbai in 2008, which left more than 160 civilians dead — had been arrested last January.

Last month, during a visit to Afghanistan, Vice President Mike Pence had issued a warning to the country, saying that Trump had “put Pakistan on notice” that it has provided a “safe haven” for terrorist groups. “Those days are over,” Pence said.

Gowen reported from New Delhi.

Read more

‘We are many, and God is with us’: Christmas spirit shines in Pakistan despite church bombing

Once a mighty political force, the Pakistan People’s Party is struggling to make a comeback

Mattis urges Pakistan to ‘redouble’ efforts against Islamist militants

Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *