(National Sentinel) Assistance Abuse: On his first tweet of the new year, President Donald J. Trump announced a major foreign policy shift: The U.S. would no longer send monetary assistance to Pakistan as long as the country continued to harbor terrorists.
“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!” the president tweeted.
It was not clear what “no more” means, whether it is a partial or full suspension of funds or whether it is temporary and/or conditions-based.
If the announcement means a full termination of U.S. foreign aid for Pakistan becomes official policy, then that is a much more dramatic step than merely withholding $255 million in military assistance to the country, which is reportedly under consideration.
Trump’s tweet comes after Pakistan refused to let U.S. officials interrogate a captured terrorist linked to the hostage-taking Haqqani Network.
In August, President Trump said the “next pillar” of his strategy for battling terrorism would involve a “change in our approach to Pakistan.” Then, he accused the country of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.”
“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” the president said. “These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide – that no place is beyond the reach of American arms.”
The administration withheld $50 million in funding to Pakistan over the summer after accusing Islamabad of doing too little to interdict and battle the Taliban and Haqqani Network.
As Breitbart News reported further:
The Pakistani military rescued a Canadian-American family held hostage for years by the Haqqanis in October. Concerns have been raised that even this rescue might have been the result of a deal between the Pakistanis and the militant network, which has long been suspected of enjoying special favors and protection from elements of the Pakistani security apparatus. The prisoner Pakistan refused to allow the United States to interview was tied to the kidnapping of this Canadian-American family.
Pakistani military officials have recently warned the U.S. against taking any unilateral actions against suspected terrorists and Taliban members inside the country.
The U.S. has long engaged suspected al Qaeda and Taliban figures inside Pakistan, mostly with drones strikes.
In 2011, a SEAL team raided a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden had been hiding.
The compound was near Pakistan’s top military university, leading many to suspect that the government was not only aware of bin Laden’s presence but providing him safe harbor.
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