Trump statement: Efforts to reset strained Pak-US ties receives setback
NEW YORK: Efforts to reset the strained Islamabad-Washington relations have apparently received a setback following President Donald Trump accusations that Pakistan was not doing "a damn thing for us", and defended his administration's decision to withhold military aid to the country.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News aired on Sunday, further accused Pakistan of helping to hide Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who was killed in 2011 during a raid by US special forces in Abbottabad.
"You know, living - think of this ñ living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don't know, I've seen nicer," the president said. The compound was demolished soon after the US commando operation in which bin Laden was killed in 2011.
"But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there," he added. "And we give Pakistan $ 1.3 billion a year. Ö (bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we're supporting Pakistan, we're giving them $ 1.3 billion a year ó which we don't give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don't do anything for us, they don't do a damn thing for us,' Trump said.
In making that statement, Trump completely glosses over Pakistan's great sacrifices in terms of loss of lives and damages to the country's infrastructure in combating terrorism. Currently, Pakistan has been trying to help facilitate peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Trump's latest outburst came as Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been working to rebuild US-Pakistan relations.
Trump has slashed nearly $800 million in military assistance to Pakistan this year, claiming it has not done enough to eliminate safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network within its borders. The Pentagon said in September that it would cancel $300 million in military aid to Pakistan.
That came after another $500 million in payments to Islamabad was revoked by the US Congress from so-called Coalition Support Funds (CSF).
Trump earlier in 2018 wrote on Twitter that 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!" Trump tweeted.
Pakistan rejects allegations it is not doing enough to fight terrorism and that it provides safe havens for militants operating in Afghanistan.