Washington: Pakistan needs to step up its fight against terrorism, the White House said today, as it defended President Donald Trump over his accusation that Islamabad deceived the US by sheltering terrorists in return for $33 billion aid.
Trump, on Monday, tore into Pakistan accusing it of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists in return for aid over the last 15 years thinking of American leaders as “fools”.
“We know that Pakistan can do more to fight and stop terrorism and we want them to step up and do that. That seems pretty simple,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
The Trump administration has already decided to withhold $225 million military aid to Pakistan.
Yesterday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said President Trump was prepared to stop all funding to Pakistan until it stops harbouring terrorists.
Sanders said Trump was taking all these steps because Pakistan had failed to fulfill its obligations in the fight against terrorism.
“The president outlined a new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia earlier this past year, in August. And at that time, he laid out and said that Pakistan is not fulfilling its obligations,” said Sanders.
“The president is simply following through on a commitment that he made, because this is a president who does what he says he’s going to do,” she said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has expressed “deep disappointment” over Trump’s allegations. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in a tweet challenged Trump’s claim that the US has given Pakistan more than $33 billion dollars as aid over the last 15 years, saying verification by an audit firm would prove the US president wrong.