Trump threatens to cut Pakistan aid over 'deceit' in terror fight

"The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools", the Republican leader said.

The administration first said in August it was temporarily withholding the $255 million, which was part of a $1.1 billion aid package authorized in 2016 by Congress.

Early Monday morning, Trump fired off two tweets aimed directly at the Middle East.

Union Minister of State (MoS) Jitendra Singh on Monday said United States President Donald Trump's decision to end aid to Pakistan has "vindicated India's stand on terrorism".

Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were among those in the administration to praise Pakistan in October after security officials there rescued from captivity of American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their children.

Tillerson had also acknowledged that USA ties with Pakistan have "really deteriorated" in the last decade, saying that he had conveyed to Pakistan that its policy of terror safe havens could well backfire. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help", he said in his first tweet of 2018.

Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, cautioned that people should not "overstate the significance of Trump's tweet for policy".

Asif also spoke against the US' military presence in Afghanistan, stating that peaceful negotiations are the only possible solution in the neighbouring country. "I'd certainly bet on the possibility", Kugelman said.

The U.S. has long accused Istanbul of allowing militants to operate relatively freely in Pakistan's border regions to carry out operations in neighbouring Afghanistan.

There was a furious reaction in Pakistan, where the government has rejected US criticism and says it has suffered from being a regional ally of Washington in the war against terror. Trump has previously lauded Pakistan's leaders.

United States officials told the newspaper that the Americans demanded access to the man who they feel might have valuable information about the whereabouts of at least one other American hostage.

The Pakistan embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

  • Jon Douglas