In his very first tweet of the year on Monday, Trump took aim on Pakistan and threatened to cut aid for allegedly lying to the US and offering “little help” in hunting “terrorists” in Afghanistan.
Trump tweeted: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Pakistan fired back hours later calling Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet “completely incomprehensible” and summoned the US Ambassador in Islamabad, David Hale, to explain the tweet.
Pakistani foreign minister Khawaja Asif dismissed Mr Trump’s comments as a political stunt made for “domestic consumption”.
“He is again and again displacing his frustrations on Pakistan over failures in Afghanistan as they are trapped in dead-end street in Afghanistan,” Mr Asif told Geo TV on Monday.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday chaired a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting of civilian and military chiefs, focusing on Trump’s tweet.
A statement was released after the meeting which lasted three hours.
The statement, issued by the prime minister’s office, did not name Trump but spoke of “deep disappointment” at a slew of critical comments coming from U.S. officials over the past few months.
The statement also said: “Recent statements and articulation by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation.”
In a strongly worded tweet, Khurram Dastgir Khan, the Pakistani defence minister, wrote: “Pak as anti-terror ally has given free to US: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs, but they have given us nothing but invective & mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis.”
Imran Khan, Chairperson of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, said Trump was working on the agenda of Pakistan’s enemies but stopped short of naming the ‘enemy’.
Khan said: “He [Trump] was working on the agenda of Pakistan’s enemies.”
Khan also stressed the sacrifices made by Pakistan, he said: “Trump has no understanding of the war on terror and the destruction caused in Pakistan,”
“Everyone knows the damages this has caused to our economy. 70,000 people have been killed in the war which had nothing to do with Pakistan.”