President Donald Trump said that the United States has been foolish in providing Pakistan with over $33 billion in aid over the past 15 years.
“They have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“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
Last month, Vice President Mike Pence said that Pakistan, which is known to harbor terrorists, had been put on notice.
“For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organizations, but those days are over. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice,” Pence told U.S. troops in Afghanistan during a visit there last month.
The top U.S. general in Afghanistan, John Nicholson, said in November that he had not seen a change in Pakistan’s behavior toward terrorists, despite the Trump administration’s tougher line against Islamabad.
The leader of the al-Qaeda terror group, Osama Bin Laden, was able to hide undetected in Pakistan before he was killed in a raid by U.S. special forces in 2011.
The New York Times reported on Dec. 29 that the Trump administration was “strongly considering” withholding $255 million in aid to Pakistan.
It said U.S. officials had sought but had been denied access to a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network captured in Pakistan who potentially could provide information about at least one American hostage.
The Trump administration said in August that it was delaying sending the $255 million in aid to Pakistan. Last month, Trump said in a speech the U.S. government makes “massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”
Pakistan has for years denied allegations that it is harboring terrorists.
Trump announced America’s new strategy for Afghanistan last August, saying that the United States would stay in the country to win the war.
Part of what prompted Trump’s change of mind, after he had initially wanted to pull the troops out, was the vacuum it would create for terror groups, similar to how Iraq saw the rise of ISIS after American troops pulled out.
“I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense. Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan—the highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world,” Trump said in the speech on Aug. 21, 2017.
Trump said that “Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.”
Reuters contributed to this report.