Pakistan promises 'cold-blooded' response to Trump’s abrupt aid cut
In a seething series of tweets, Pakistan’s foreign minister ripped into Trump’s accusation that Islamabad has double-crossed the US in Afghanistan, noting that Pakistan “went through a bloodbath” after “blindly” trusting Washington.
“You ask what we’ve done? From our bases you carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan... thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you,” Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif wrote.
Citing Pakistan’s “unending saga of sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism, Asif wrote that “history teaches us not to blindly trust the US… [we] will not compromise our dignity anymore.”
پوچھتے ھو کیا کیا؟ایک آمر نےفون کال پہ سر نڈر کیا،وطن کو بارود و خون سے نہلا یا افغانستان پر اپنے اڈوں سے تمھارے 57800 حملے،ہماری گزرگا ھوں سےتمھارا اسلحہ،بارود گیا،ہزاروں سویلین ،فو جی، بریگیڈیئر،جنرل، جواں سال لیفٹیننٹ آپکی چھیڑ ی جنگ کی بھینٹ چڑھ گئے 1/3— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) January 3, 2018
Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan echoed Asif’s defiant tone during an interview on Thursday, vowing a “cold-blooded response” to Washington’s stated intention to withhold $255 million in aid to Pakistan, as cited by RIA Novosti.
Speaking earlier with BBC Urdu, Khan said Washington ought to “prefer” cooperation over confrontation, noting that half of Pakistan’s airspace and land routes were still open to the US – and without them, its ability to operate in Afghanistan would be greatly diminished.
Describing Pakistan as an independent nuclear power, the defense minister said it was not possible for Washington to dictate terms to Islamabad by withholding aid, and warned the US against any attempt to bring the war in Afghanistan to Pakistan’s soil.
Responding to a question about the possibility of unilateral US military action in Pakistan, Khan commented that “Donald Trump is a highly temperamental person, therefore any such possibility can’t be completely ruled out.”
In his first tweet of the new year, US President Donald Trump went for Islamabad, writing that 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,” adding that the country gives “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
The tweet provoked uproar in Pakistan, with Islamabad quickly convening an emergency cabinet meeting to establish the “difference between fact and fiction,” and summoning the US ambassador for an explanation.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi offered to “review [our] cooperation [with the United States] if it is not appreciated.”