US Cuts Pakistan aid over country’s support of terror groups
The US State Department has announced a freeze on security aid to Pakistan. Donald Trump says that the US has handed over nearly $33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, but under his tenure this would end until Pakistan dealt with the terror networks operating inside the country. Pakistan’s foreign minister said in a tweet that they would “respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah.” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Pakistan of playing ” a double game for years” and that the Trump admin would withhold $255 million dollars in security aid from the nation.
Pakistan has long been viewed as key ally to the United States during the early stages of the War on Terror, but many terror plots have emanated from the country over the years, seeming to confirm Donald Trump’s criticisms of the nation. As the 2000’s ended, a report showed that up to three quarters of terror plots in the UK came from Pakistan. As extremists were displaced after the initial invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, many al-Qaeda fighters were found to be being trained inside Pakistan. One of the London 7/7 bombers, Mohammed Siddique Khan from Beeston, West Yorkshire was believed to have made numerous trips to terrorist training camps in southern Punjab, and he was captured on CCTV at Karachi airport with one of his fellow bombers Shehzad Tanweer in November 2004.
It is believed this source of frustration being shown to Pakistan from the Trump administration stems from the perceived failure of the country to tackle the Haqqani network and the Taliban. American officials are believed to have demanded access to a militant that was captured in Pakistan after the rescue of a Canadian-American family back in October, but Pakistan rejected this request from the US. Over the Summer the US withheld $50 million dollars in aid to the nation after feeling that these issues were not being addressed adequately.
Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of providing “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror.” A rise in religious fervour has been growing in recent years in Pakistan, creating a dangerous climate of intolerance for the religious minorities living in the country. According to a 2012 United States Commission on International Religious Freedom annual report it was said that “The government of Pakistan continues to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief.” In 1980 in Pakistan 2 clauses were added to the Pakistan Penal Code which are known as anti-Ahmadi laws and blasphemy laws. Under these laws it is thought that many Christians have been sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Mohammed under the guise of blasphemy. In 2011 two clerics who were staunch critics of the law, Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated. This rise in religious extremism has been linked to the opening of religious schools that are thought to be funded by Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan, the nation which saw the worlds most infamous terrorist, Osama Bin Laden killed in a compound in Abbottabad in 2011 has long been associated with terrorism. Previous administrations have tried to work with the nation during the long and complex years of the War on Terror, but President Trump is a different prospect. Donald Trump has signalled from the very beginning of his time in office he would not play the politics of appeasement, and in a world where the threat of terrorism seems to be ever growing, I will say something that the mainstream media would never dare. Maybe Donald Trump is doing the right thing in regards to Pakistan, one of the worlds biggest sponsors of terror.
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