Pakistan Holds An Emergency Security Meeting After Trump Tweet

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi. AFP file

Last year, Trump beefed up the number of US troops in Afghanistan.

Trump had also accused Pakistan of providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for Dollars 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.

In the tweet, Trump accused Pakistan - a key USA anti-terrorism ally - of taking American leaders for "fools" and providing terrorists from neighboring Afghanistan "safe haven". "No more!" he tweeted on Monday.

Commenting on the tweet, Dastagir said Pakistan had extended unprecedented cooperation to the United States for eliminating al-Qaeda from its soil and Afghanistan, besides fighting the war against terrorism.

"As the USA aid and worldwide support to Pakistan to fight terrorism has not given any result, so there is a need for more steps, such steps that could help in achieving the goals against terrorism", a spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told Radio Azadi.

Relations between Islamabad and Washington have been strained for years over Islamabad's alleged support for Haqqani network militants, who are allied with the Afghan Taliban.

In 2016, Taliban leader Mullah Mansour was killed by a U.S. drone strike inside Pakistan and in 2011, Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed by USA troops in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Ambassador David Hale was asked to go to the Foreign Ministry in the Pakistani capital on Monday night after Islamabad responded angrily to Mr Trump's allegations that it provided safe havens for militants, in the latest spat to rock their alliance.

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But that will have to change, and that will change immediately, ' Trump said in an August speech announcing a new strategy to combat terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday chaired a National Security Committee meeting of civilian and military chiefs, focusing on Trump's tweet.

Asif added that Pakistan did not need United States aid.

Last week, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration was seriously weighing whether to withhold $255 million in already delayed aid to Islamabad over its failure to better crack down on terror groups in Pakistan. The committee further said Pakistan's anti-terrorism operations have wiped out al-Qaeda from the region.

But China gave Pakistan its backing. And directly in response to Trump's words, said his own version of the US President's "No more!" Though Pakistan hit back saying it had cooperated with the USA as an anti-terror ally and helped in decimating Al-Qaeda over the years, the response is not convincing because it does not reflect the ground realities.

PTI parliamentary leader Mohammad Azam Khan Swati made it clear to U.S. that Pakistan was not Iraq or Syria and it should avoid given threats to Pakistan.

The tweet came also in the backdrop of the United Nations-designated terrorist, Hafiz Saeed, looking to contest the 2018 general elections in Pakistan and thereby, forming a party - by the name of Milli Muslim League (MML). He was talking about Trump's first tweet of 2018 where the United States president said that Islamabad takes Americans for fools.

"The trend lines have not been good, and the tweet gives an indication of the turmoil that awaits in 2018", said Michael Kugelman, the senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center.


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