Pakistan would chose Haqqani, Taliban over US

Donald Trump

Trump has warned Pakistan that Washington will no longer tolerate Pakistan offering'safe havens

President Donald Trump in an angry tweet on the New Year day had accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the U.S. but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for Dollars 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.

Trump had been keen to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan; therefore, he had only reluctantly agreed to increase their numbers under pressure from his generals.

A report in The Washington Post had indicated in December that a decision was imminent. US aid agencies alone gave nearly $5 million to Pakistan in 2017, according to data from USAID. An US inter-agency team had also gone to Pakistan in the fall of 2017 to continue these negotiations.

USA officials had indicated on Thursday that the aid suspension would impact the State Department's foreign military financing (FMF) and the Department of Defense's Coalition Support Funds (CSF). "Pakistan has the ability to get this money back, in the future, but they have to take decisive action".

"Today we can confirm that we are suspending national security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network", US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters in Washington DC.

Early Monday morning, President Trump lashed out at Pakistan, accusing the country of "lies & deceit" and of giving safe haven to terrorists.

She did not reveal the exact amount of this aid and said that she couldn't reveal the figure as the administration was still calculating the amount.

As always, the path to stability, prosperity, and a true strategic partnership with America is clear: Abandon your support for Islamist extremists, end your paranoid infatuation with India, make peace with your Afghan neighbors, and respect freedom and religious liberty at home. This was not likely to have been given as the U.S. had not issued that certification for CSF funds for 2015 and 2016 either.

It is "approximately two billion worth of equipment and coalition support funding that is in play", the official said on condition of anonymity.

US assistance to Pakistan, which rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks, has been declining since 2011 when American commandos killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, straining relations. Another Republican senator, Rand Paul, said that he would introduce legislation to eliminate all USA aid to Pakistan.

The Ministry defended Islamabad's stance on terrorism, saying that "it has fought the war against terrorism largely from its own resources which has cost over $120 billion in 15 years".

Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja M. Asif accused the United States of being a "friend who always betrays".

Pakistani security officials stand guard outside a mosque in 2015. "Is he freezing the funds for legitimate reasons, or is he doing it because he didn't like how Pakistan officials replied to his initial tweet about them?"

Asif added that he believes the US-Pakistan relations are now at risk, especially after the tensions heightened and moods turned sour when President Donald Trump warned Islamabad to "do more" against terrorists, to whom, he alleges, the country provides safe havens.

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