WASHINGTON DC - U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of not doing 'a damn thing for us' and defended his administration's decision to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Islamabad.
Trump has slashed nearly $800 million in military assistance to Pakistan this year, saying it has not done enough to eliminate safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network within its borders.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News aired on Thursday last week, accused Pakistan of helping to hide al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who was killed in 2011 during a raid by U.S. Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Bin Laden's hideout was located just a short distance away from one of Pakistan's most prestigious military academies.
'But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,' Trump said. 'And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year...[bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we're supporting Pakistan, we're giving them $1.3 billion a year. I ended it because they don't do anything for us, they don't do a damn thing for us.'
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That came after another $500 million in payments to Islamabad was revoked by the U.S. Congress from so-called Coalition Support Funds (CSF).
The Trump administration has vowed to freeze other forms of security assistance, bringing the total of security funds that could be held back to at least $1.3 billion.
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.
As part of Trump's effort to resolve the 17-year war in Afghanistan, Washington has escalated pressure on Pakistan, whose assistance the U.S. believes is needed to compel the Taliban to agree to negotiate with the government in Kabul.
The insurgents have so far declined government overtures for peace talks this year, and instead have escalated violence against U.S. and Afghan forces.
With reporting by Fox News RFE/RL
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