Washington D.C. 05 January 2018In a series of tweets issued by President Trump accused Pakistan of taking US aid while providing “safe haven” to 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,” Trump wrote. “They give safe-haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Washington had been considering cutting aid to Pakistan that it has delayed paying since August 2017.

Echoing Trump’s tweets, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday, accused Pakistan of “playing a double game” with the US “for years,” and vowed to withhold $255 million in aid to the country for what Haley described as “clear reasons.”

Relations between the US and Pakistan have been deteriorating for several years, with the US criticizing Islamabad for its alleged support for the Haqqani network, a group allied with the Afghan Taliban. In August, while unveiling the White House’s new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, President Trump had accused Pakistan of offering “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.” The latest frustration for the Trump administration, stemmed from Pakistani officials’ refusal in handing over one of the militants, responsible for abducting Caitlan Coleman, an American woman held captive for five years with her Canadian husband and children by the Haqqani network. US officials were hoping to interrogate the abductor about the whereabouts of another American hostage, but Pakistani officials rejected US demands for access. Since 2002, the U.S. has delivered billions in aid to Pakistan, but a deepening sense of distrust and betrayal has developed in the relationship. Pakistan says it has paid an enormous price as an ally in the war on terrorism.

Sanjay Puri, Chairman, US India Political Action Committee, welcomed the hardening of Washington’s stance towards Islamabad, adding, “USINPAC has been advocating for years to reevaluate military aid to Pakistan. We cannot have US taxpayer money going towards terror attacks against US interests from groups in Pakistan.”