Nikki Haley accuses Pakistan of playing ‘double game’ with the US, vows to withhold $255 million in aid

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a brief press availability at United Nations headquarters, January 2, 2018 in New York City. She discussed protests in Iran and the North Korea nuclear threat. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Pakistan of “playing a double game” with the US, and said the US would withhold $US255 million in aid to the country.
  • Her comments follow a series of tweets from President Donald Trump on Monday, in which he accused the country of taking US aid while providing “safe haven” to terrorists.
  • The US Ambassador to Pakistan was called in following Trump’s tweets.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Pakistan of “playing a double game” with the US “for years,” and pledged to withhold $US255 million in aid to the country.

Trump blasted Pakistan in a series of tweets on Monday, accusing the country of taking US aid while providing “safe haven” 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,” Trump wrote. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Washington had been considering cutting aid to Pakistan that it had already delayed since August, according to The New York Times.

Haley seemed to echo Trump’s statements, vowing that the US will cut its financial assistance to country for what she said were “clear reasons.”

“They work with us at times, and they also harbour the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan,” she told reporters at the UN on Tuesday.

“That game is not acceptable to this administration. We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism,” she added.

The Pakistani government has not yet issued a formal response to Haley’s statements.

Tensions have been rising

On Monday, US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale was summoned by the Pakistani government in response to Trump’s tweet, according to local media.

According to Reuters, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held a security meeting with the country’s top civilian and military chiefs on Tuesday. Following the security meeting, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said he would pay for Trump to audit Pakistan to verify his claim that Pakistan received $US33 billion in US aid over the past 15 years.

“He can hire a US based Audit firm on our expense to verify this figure & let the world know who is lying & deceiving,” Asif tweeted.

Meanwhile, hundreds took to the streets in Karachi to protest Trump’s rhetoric, according to CNN, burning US flags and chanting anti-US slogans. A similar protest was held in Lahore, CNN said, citing AFP.

Relations between the US and Pakistan have been strained for several years, with the US criticising Islamabad’s alleged support for Haqqani militants, who are allied with the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan denied claims that it does not do its part in the war on terror. The Pakistani government said Tuesday that “tens of thousands” Pakistanis, including some security personnel have died fighting terrorism, and said putting a “monetary value” on their lives would trivialize their sacrifices.