Thursday, 18 January 2018

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US President Donald Trump said on Monday the United States has "foolishly" handed Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years while getting nothing in return and pledged to put a stop to it. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Mr Trump wrote on Twitter. "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." It was not immediately clear what prompted Mr Trump's criticism of Pakistan but he has long complained that Islamabad is not doing enough to tackle Islamist militants. The New York Times reported on December 29 the Trump administration was "strongly considering" whether to withhold US$255 million in aid to Pakistan. It said US officials had sought but 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. Pakistan's foreign minister, Khawaja M Asif, wrote on Twitter: "We will respond to President Mr Trump's tweet shortly inshallah...Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction." The Trump administration said in August that it was delaying sending the US$255 million in aid to Pakistan. Last month, Mr Trump said in a speech the US government makes "massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help." Pakistan counters that it has launched military operations to push out militants from its soil and that 17,000 Pakistanis have died fighting militants or in bombings and other attacks since 2001. The Pakistan embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. The White House did not respond to requests on what prompted Mr Trump's tweet and whether a decision had been made on the aid.

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