Money talks and bullshit walks. Realizing that cheap talk will get the U.S. nowhere, the Yankees have been using US dollar to persuade nations around the world to do as they like. And it’s pretty effective. But there’s one problem. Those countries that receive free money could easily lie and instead of fighting terrorism, breeds and even provides “safe haven” to the terrorists.
Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country supposedly an ally of the U.S., has learned the hard way that the good old days of scamming billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money could be over. On the second day of New Year 2018, President Trump suspended US$255 million military aid to Pakistan, accusing the country of being “deceitful and lying”.
A day before the suspension on 1st January 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump unleashed his tweet – “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!”
A National Security Council spokesman said – “The U.S. does not plan to spend the US$255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan at this time. The President has made clear that the U.S. expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan’s actions in support of the South Asia strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance.”
The money, which was part of a US$1.1 billion aid package authorized in 2016 by Congress, is now blocked until Pakistan agreed to do more to combat terrorist networks. Besides helping Pakistan to procure advanced military equipment, the funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development is also used on education, wind power, dam repair and maintenance.
But this is not a sudden cut from President Trump. He has, as far back as August, warned Pakistan for its alleged role in supporting terrorism – “Today, 20 US-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan – the highest concentration in any region in the world. For its part, Pakistan often gives safe have to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.”
Pakistan claims that it has launched military operations to push out militants from its soil and that 17,000 Pakistanis have died fighting militants or in bombings and other attacks since 2001. However, John Nicholson, the top US general in Afghanistan, said in November that he had not seen a change in Pakistan’s behaviour toward militants, despite Trump administration’s warning.
The latest sign of a possible funding cut came last month when Vice President Mike Pence, in his speech to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, said – “For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice.”
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when Pakistani officials rejected the American demands to interrogate a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network captured in Pakistan who could provide valuable information about at least one other American hostage. Initially, Pakistan tried to hide the information from the United States.
After Caitlan Coleman, an American, and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, were freed along with their children in an October raid after 5 years in captivity, Pakistan authorities deliberately made no mention of the captured Haqqani abductor. Eventually, the U.S. found out about the militant’s arrest because their drone had been monitoring the kidnappers as they moved deeper into Pakistan.
But the kidnapping of Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle is not the real reason why the U.S. wants the access to the captured kidnapper. American officials are eager to learn what the militant knows about Kevin King, an American university professor who was kidnapped along with Timothy Weeks, an Australian citizen, in August 2016.
Mr. King is believed to be alive but ill and American officials are hopeful that he and Mr. Weeks might be released. Another American, Paul Overby, vanished in 2014 in Afghanistan when he was trying to interview the leader of the Haqqani network. Pakistan refusal to grant access to the U.S. the captured militant suggests that they could be working hand in glove with the terrorist organization.
Mr. Trump was absolutely right when he said the U.S. has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years. Pakistan is one of the largest, if not the largest, breeding ground for terrorists in Asia after Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Their religious school and even top universities such as Karachi University breeds terrorists.
When Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist, was finally killed by U.S. Navy SEAL teams on May 3, 2011, it was revealed that he had been living in the backyard of Pakistan – allegedly under the protection of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Still, Trump needs to do more than stopping US$255 million to Pakistan to seriously cripple radicalized Islamic terrorists.
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