WASHINGTON – In his first tweet of 2018, US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of lies and deceit and of providing refuge for the terrorists Washington is fighting.
“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,” Trump wrote.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he added.
It’s not clear why Trump picked Pakistan as his first target of the year, but The New York Times reported Friday that the White House could hold back some $225 million in aid from the central Asian country because of its supposed negligence in controlling terrorist organizations.
In mid-December, Trump presented his new strategy for national security and urged Pakistan to take “decisive action” against terrorism.
“We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help,” Trump said at the time.
Relations between Pakistan and the United States have grown cold following Trump’s accusations last August that the nation’s authorities provide refuge on its territory for terrorist groups that carry out attacks on neighboring countries.
For years the United States and Afghanistan have accused Pakistan of sheltering the Taliban faction known as the Haqqani network, which attacks US and Afghan troops, but no other US president has talked so tough about the Asian nation.
Pakistan denied those accusations and suspended state visits between the two countries following Trump’s statement.