Former US Ambassador Khalilzad Supports Tough Line On Pakistan

Pakistan       by Mahmood Idrees | Published

In the tweet, Trump accused Pakistan - a key US anti-terrorism ally - of taking American leaders for "fools" and providing terrorists from neighboring Afghanistan "safe haven".

Meanwhile, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, accused Pakistan of playing a "double game" in the fight against terror, Reuters reported.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: US President Donald Trump lashed out at Pakistan on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) in his first tweet of 2018, threatening to cut off aid over what he said were its "lies and deceit" in offering "safe haven to terrorists".

In the tweet, the US President mentioned that the United States have foolishly aided Pakistan with above an amount of $33 billion in the name of aid over the period of last fifteen years.

'We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.

"Allies don't fight", he added, saying that "the US should realize how Pakistan has been cooperative in the war against terror". "We are feeling sorry they are not happy, but we will not compromise on our dignity anymore", Pakistan foreign minister said.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif dismissed Mr Trump's comments as a political stunt borne out of frustration over United States failures in Afghanistan, where Afghan Taleban militants have been gaining territory and carrying out major attacks. The US yesterday announced that it is withholding its United States dollars 255 million military aid to Pakistan. The Pakistani minister had earlier questioned the figure of $33 billion in aid Trump quoted in his tweets.

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The U.S. -Pakistan relations have taken a significant hit over the past few years as the former has often accused Pakistan of its links to the Haqqani network in the region.

Foreign Minister Khawaj Asif briefed the participants about the background of the recent statements of the American leadership and the discussion held during the NSC meeting.

A U.S. National Security Council official meanwhile confirmed that the U.S. does not plan to distribute the funds 'at this time'.

Islamabad has repeatedly dismissed USA assertions that it's harboring terrorists and doing too little to fight extremists.

After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, Washington forged a strategic alliance with Islamabad to help in its fight against extremists.

It was not immediately clear what prompted Trump's criticism of Pakistan but he has long complained that Islamabad is not doing enough to tackle Islamist militants.

In 2017 the White House increased troop levels in Afghanistan to about 14,000, a move some experts have said shows little departure from the strategies the USA has used in the country since the start of the US -led invasion.

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