WASHINGTON: CIA director Mike Pompeo says the United States can restore security assistance to Pakistan if it takes ‘decisive actions’ against terrorists.
In an interview to the CBS, Pompeo cited the US President Donald Trump as asking Pakistan to “cease” being a safe haven for terrorists that threaten the US.
The US has suspended about $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan for ‘failing’ to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens.
The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan comes after President Donald Trump in a New Year’s Day tweet accused the country of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists in return for $33 billion aid over the last 15 years.
“We see the Pakistanis continuing to provide safe harbour for terrorists who present risks to the United States of America,” Pompeo was quoted as saying by the CBS.
“We are doing our best to inform the Pakistanis that this is no longer going to be acceptable. So this conditioned aid, we have given them a chance. If they fix this problem, we are happy to continue to engage with them and be their partner. But if they don’t, we’re going to protect America,” Pompeo said.
He was responding to questions on the recent decision of the Trump administration to suspend approximately $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan.
“The president has made very clear that he needs Pakistan to cease being a safe haven for terrorists that threaten the United States of America, end, period, full stop,” Pompeo said, reflecting the stand taken by Trump.
How it all started
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Jan 1 the United States has “foolishly” handed Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years while getting nothing in return, and pledged to put a stop to it.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Pakistan hits back
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khawaja M. Asif, wrote on Twitter “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction.”
In countering U.S. criticism, Pakistan says 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.