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Pakistan protests Trump’s Twitter attack, summons US ambassador

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on October 4, 2017 (State Department Photo / Public Domain)

Pakistan lashed out Monday after President Donald Trump accused its leaders of “lies & deceit” and suggested the United States would withdraw financial assistance to the nuclear-armed nation it once saw as a key ally against terrorism.

U.S. Ambassador David Hale was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the president’s statement, U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said. Pakistan lodged a strongly worded protest and asked for clarification of Trump’s comments, according to two foreign office officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It was the president’s latest broadside against Pakistan after a speech in August in which he demanded that its leaders crack down on the safe havens enjoyed by Taliban militants fighting U.S.-backed forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump wrote.

Trump’s face was plastered across TV channels in Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif went on Geo TV, the country’s biggest news channel, to respond.

“We have already told the U.S. that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif said.

He said that Trump was disappointed that the U.S. was losing its 16-year war in Afghanistan and was trying to blame Pakistan. He also said Pakistan was “ready to publicly provide every detail of the U.S. aid that it has received.”

Pakistani officials maintain that the billions of dollars the country has received from the U.S. were mainly reimbursements for supporting U.S.-led coalition forces that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the Taliban regime that sheltered al-Qaida.

Afghanistan officials have cheered Trump’s tough talk against Pakistan, which it accuses of sponsoring terrorist attacks on Afghan soil.

©2018 Los Angeles Times

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