In his very first tweet of the new year, President Donald Trump directed fire at the government of Pakistan, suggesting that the U.S. should stop sending them billions in foreign aid while they continue to spread “lies & deceit” and harbor terrorists.
While the tweet may have been intended as a warning to Pakistani government officials to be more cooperative in the fight against Islamic radicalism, it was certainly not the first time the Republican president has openly pondered slashing aid to the country, long accused of harboring terrorists and undermining U.S. military efforts.
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
In August, Trump explained that the “next pillar” of his strategy for battling radical Islamic terrorism would include a “change in our approach to Pakistan.”
Addressing military personnel at Fort Meyer, Trump outlined a new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia and accused Pakistan of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror,” according to First Post.
In that same speech, Trump also issued a warning shot to Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.
“Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan,” he explained. “It has much to lose by continuing to harbor terrorists.”
“We will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” he went on. “These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide — that no place is beyond the reach of American arms.”
During pivotal moments when American forces executed operations to rescue civilians or take down high-ranking terrorists inside Pakistan, that government has often been described as dragging its feet or working against U.S. efforts entirely.
After Osama bin Laden was killed by American forces in the northern part of the country in 2011, the Pakistani government jailed the man largely credited with helping the CIA locate the world’s most wanted terrorist — Dr. Shakil Afridi.
Afridi is accused of running a fake vaccination campaign and having ties to militant Islamists — charges Afridi and the U.S. have labeled ridiculous. Pakistan is refusing to hand the doctor over to American forces or even release him from prison, according to Reuters.
More recently, the Pakistani government rescued an American-Canadian family held hostage by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network for years. However, the operation only came to fruition in October after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave them the ultimatum of saving the family themselves or seeing the U.S. act on its own.
The Pakistani government has since refused to allow U.S. interrogators access to a captured Haqqani terrorist involved in the hostage taking.
Viewing Pakistan as an unreliable partner, Trump will likely slow the gravy train of millions in foreign aid the U.S. hands Pakistan annually.
The White House is now reportedly considering cutting $255 million in military assistance to the Muslim-majority country until its government decides to become more cooperative.
Plans to cut aid to Pakistan come after U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced major cuts to the United Nations, announcing in late December a plan to cut $285 million from funds the U.S. will provide to the international body’s 2018-2019 budget. (For more from the author of “Trump Issues First Tweet of 2018: ‘Nothing but Lies and Deceit'” please click HERE)