President Donald Trump threatened to end U.S. foreign aid for Pakistan Monday in his first tweet of 2018 — a move that comes amid strained ties over America’s decade-long war in Afghanistan.
In an early-morning post, he accused Islamabad of harboring terrorists.
The U.S. has repeatedly called on Pakistan to crack down on extremists in its border regions, including militants in the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, and warned in August that it was withholding millions of dollars in military assistance.
“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!”
It was not immediately clear what had prompted the president to comment on Pakistan.
However, the New York Times reported Friday that Pakistan had refused to allow U.S. access to a militant captured in October during the rescue operation for American hostage Caitlan Coleman and her family. NBC News could not confirm that report.
There was a furious reaction in Pakistan, where the government has rejected U.S. criticism and says it has suffered from being a regional ally of Washington in the war against terror.
Pakistan will “let the world know the … difference between facts and fiction,” Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted, promising to respond to Trump “shortly.”
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SOURCE: NBC News, Wajahat S. Khan and Alastair Jamieson