President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his administration’s decision to stop hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan, saying the country does not do “a damn thing” for the US and its government had helped Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden hide near its garrison city.
The US President was in conversation with Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace during an interview which aired on the American news channel on Sunday.
However, Donald Trump clearly conveyed that Pakistan has done little, in spite of accepting aid (in billions of dollars) from US, to assist it in its ‘War on Terror’ among other things. He slammed Pakistan as he blamed it of having sheltered Osama Bin Laden.
USA’s frustration with Pakistan has been expressed publicly by Trump administration many times. In Washington’s political circles, Pakistan is widely seen as a major factor behind the Afghanistan war going downhill in the last two decades.
“And we give Pakistan USD 1.3 billion a year. … (Laden] lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them USD 1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us,” he said.
The ties between the two countries strained after Trump, while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August last year, hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harbouring terrorists.
In September, the Trump administration cancelled $300 million in military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups active on its soil.
Mr Trump also said that he has plans to visit Iraq and Afghanistan to meet American troops stationed there.
“Well, I think you will see that happen. There are things that are being planned. We don’t want to talk about it because of — obviously because of security reasons and everything else,” he said.
Mr Trump has been criticized by his political opponents for not visiting either Afghanistan or Iraq in the first two years of his presidency.