Our readers may recall that when President Donald Trump unveiled his updated strategy for the war in Afghanistan this past August, he specifically called out the neighboring nation of Pakistan and noted that they needed to do more on their end to help combat radical Islamic terrorism.
Unfortunately, it appears Pakistan didn’t quite get the message Trump sent last summer, if his first tweet of 2018 is anything to go on.
According to The Hill, the president’s first tweet of the new year explicitly called out Pakistan for their history of “lies & deceit” in dealing with the U.S. about terrorism, and appeared to threaten future financial aid to the predominately Muslim nation that has been accused of harboring international terrorist organizations.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
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 Hill further noted that a recent report from The New York Times suggested that the Trump administration was considering placing a hold on about $225 million or more in scheduled foreign aid to Pakistan this year out of frustration over their lack of cooperation in tracking down known terror group networks.
A final decision on that consideration could be announced within the next few weeks, according to the report.
Unsurprisingly, the Pakistani Defense Minister responded shortly thereafter on Twitter with a statement asserting that they had indeed been quite cooperative over the years, but had only received “invective & mistrust” in return.
The tweet laughably noted all of the “free” assistance they have given the U.S., apparently unaware of just how much the U.S. had provided in terms of foreign aid over those same years.
The Washington Post reported that the tweet was followed up later by an official statement from the Pakistani government which expressed their “deep disappointment” in Trump’s remarks.
That statement also derided Trump’s tweet as “incomprehensible” and “insensitive,” but added, “Despite the unwarranted allegations, Pakistan cannot act in haste.”
Indeed, they would be wise not to “act in haste,” as millions of dollars are at stake for them and expectations of what they are supposed to be doing in exchange for those dollars have not been met, by most expert accounts.
Though Pakistan denies providing safe harbor to groups like Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the affiliated mafia-like Haqqani network, most analysts agree that they have not done nearly enough in rooting them out of the border region they share with Afghanistan.
“What’s important is that this is the first time that the president of the United States has directly said what some in the foreign policy and national security community have said for some time,” explained Hudson Institute analyst Husain Haqqani, who formerly served as the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S.
“The bottom line is that the U.S. is completely frustrated by Pakistan,” he added.
Yes. Yes, we are, as evidenced by Trump’s first tweet of the new year, which quite likely spells bad news for Pakistan if they don’t quickly make some drastic changes to how they deal with the terrorist networks operating within their own borders.
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