A day after the Trump administration confirmed suspending $255 million of military aid to Pakistan for “harbouring terrorists”, US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Islamabad should do more to fight terrorism. Addressing the press at the White House on Tuesday, Sanders said the actions being taken against Islamabad were a follow-up to Trump’s South Asia policy announced last year.
“The President outlined a new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia in August. At that time, he laid out (a policy) and said Pakistan is not fulfilling its obligations,” she said. “The President is simply following through on a commitment that he made (…) we know Pakistan can do more to fight terrorism and we want them to step up and do that.”
Asked if there was any particular incident that prompted the US President’s Monday tweet, Sanders said, “This is something that the President has been following and has talked about back during August when he laid out his Afghanistan and South Asia strategy.
“And this is something the administration continues to watch on a daily basis,” she said. Sanders said that further action against Pakistan — and other countries that did not side with the US on Jerusalem at the UN — would be announced in the next 24-48 hours.
The White House’s move to suspend military aid has been seen as the first step to implementing Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan. Military aid to Islamabad was cut after Trump, in a tweet, accused Pakistan of being a “liar”.
“The US had 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!” he tweeted. The tweet had come in the aftermath of an increasingly terse back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad.