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US-Pakistan relations nosedive following Trump Twitter outburst

Pakistan claims more than 17,000 have died fighting militants or in terror attacks [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 January, 2018

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Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to the foreign office following President Donald Trump's tweet about Pakistan only offering "lies and deceit" in return for aid.
The US has "foolishly" given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years and received nothing in return, said American president Donald Trump on Monday, sparking a war of words between the two countries.

"They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump wrote on Twitter. "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."

A National Security Council official said on Monday that the White House does not plan to send the $255 million in aid to Pakistan "at this time" and that the administration continues to "review Pakistan's level of cooperation" reported Reuters.

Khawaja M. Asif, Pakistan's foreign minister wrote in response on Twitter: "We will respond to President Trump's tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth. Difference between facts and fiction."

Pakistan's foreign office also summoned the US ambassador David Hale in protest.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Islamabad confirmed the meeting took place.

In a speech last month in Afghanistan to US troops, Vice President Mike Pence said: "For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice."

Countering US criticism, Pakistan claims more than 17,000 have died fighting militants or in terror attacks since 2001.

Long-time ally China defended Pakistan's record of combating "terrorism", while rivals India and Afghanistan praised Trump's words.

Top civilian and military chiefs plan to meet on Wednesday to discuss deteriorating US ties, and Pakistan's prime minister Shahid Khaqan will chair a cabinet meeting on Tuesday focusing on Trump's outburst.

US Senator Rand Paul tweeted: "Let's make this happen," saying that he would lead the change in ending aid to Pakistan.

Washington and Kabul have long accused Islamabad of supporting militant groups including the Taliban, believed to have links to Pakistan's shadowy military establishment which aims to use them in Afghanistan as a regional bulwark against arch-nemesis India.

Islamabad has repeatedly denied the accusations, lambasting the US for ignoring the thousands who have been killed on Pakistani soil and the billions spent fighting extremists.

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