President Trump has repeatedly accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists while accepting billions in U.S. aid. Now, the Trump administration is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid.
Ringing in the New Year with his first Tweet of 2017, President Trump has called out Pakistan for repaying billions of dollars of U.S. aid with only “lies and deceit.” In the same message, the President also accused Pakistan of providing safe haven to terrorists the U.S. is fighting in Afghanistan.
Following the President’s tweet, sources inside the administration confirmed that the United States was suspending $255 million in military aid to Pakistan. While this isn’t the first time the President has taken a tough position on Pakistan or that the Trump White House has suspended aid, this is the largest and most public action taken against Pakistan in the President’s first year in office.
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
For their part, Pakistan fired back on social media, tweeting that they have given much to the U.S. and been repaid only in “invective and mistrust.”
Pak as anti-terror ally has given free to US: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs, but they have given us nothing but invective & mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis.
— Pak Minister Defence (@PakMnstrDefence) January 1, 2018
Pakistan’s alleged support/ignoring of terrorism has long been a source of controversy in the U.S.’s foreign policy and military actions. When running for office in 2007, then-Senator Obama stated that if he was elected President, the U.S. would conduct military operations inside Pakistan to target terrorists. While this did happen in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, the very nature of the mission highlighted the fact that Pakistan was likely “looking the other way” when it came to high-profile terrorists seeking safe havens in their country.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been fighting to end aid to Pakistan for years and will again lead the charge in the Senate. Let’s make this happen @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/v4KrOrWOyS https://t.co/JNNChCfVqP
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 1, 2018
According to sources speaking on condition of anonymity, “The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 in Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan at this time. The president has made clear the US expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan’s actions in support of the South Asia Strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance.”
“The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, 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.” – President Trump, August 21, 2017
“It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace.” – President Trump, August 21, 2017
In August, when President Trump revealed his administration’s strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, he accused Pakistan of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.” He acknowledged the suffering that the Pakistani people have experienced due to terrorism and acknowledged the successes the U.S. and Pakistan have experienced in joint military operations, but had this to say…
“Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. 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. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. servicemembers and officials.”