Washington: Hours after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley confirmed that that the U.S. would be cutting off aid to Pakistan, the White House on Tuesday said they just wanted Pakistan to do more in the fight against terrorism.
“We know that Pakistan can do more to fight terrorism, and we want them to step up and do that,” White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders said during White House press briefing.
“First, in terms of Pakistan, as I said, our goal is that we know that they can do more to stop terrorism, and we want them to do that. That seems pretty simple. In terms of specific actions, I think you will see some more details come out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours, and we will be sure to keep you guys updated on that front,” she added.
However, U.S. State Department’s spokeswoman, Heather Nauert termed Pakistan as an important partner and said that his country would like Islamabad to do more against terrorism through cooperation.
“Pakistan is an important partner. We have a lot of issues in that region. Pakistan knows that, we all know that, and we try to work carefully together on some of those issues, but Pakistan – I don’t want to say that Pakistan can do more, but Pakistan knows what it needs to do. We expect Pakistan – and we’ve made clear, and the President has made clear in the past also through his new strategy that was announced back in August about the Asia – the new Asia strategy – that the United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against the Haqqani Network and other militants who are operating from its soil. And they need to better – to earn, essentially, the money that we have provided in the past in foreign military assistance, they need to show that they are sincere in their efforts to crack down on terrorists,” she said.
“I think Secretary Tillerson and also Secretary Mattis spent some time over there in Pakistan not too long ago. And they shared with the Pakistani Government and their counterparts our concerns. We would like Pakistan to do more through cooperation. They have a lot; it’s not just us. We’re not the only ones who benefit from it. But they have a lot to gain through additional cooperation on the issue of terrorism. So we expect them to take greater actions,” Nauret added.
Earlier, Haley said President Donald Trump was prepared to end all funding for Pakistan if it did not stop providing safe haven to terrorist groups.
She also confirmed that the U.S. was withholding $255 million in aid to Pakistan for harboring the terrorists that attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
“We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. The president is willing to go to great lengths to stop all funding from Pakistan as they continue to harbor and support terrorism,” she added.
Haley’s remarks came a day after Trump castigated Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists.
“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!” Trump posted on the micro-blogging site on Monday.
Outraged over Trump’s tweet, Pakistan summoned the United States ambassador David Hale to lodge its protest against the tweet.