US envoy summoned over Trump's tweet accusing Pakistan of 'lies and deceit'

2 January 2018, 08:02

Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest against Donald Trump's New Year's Day tweet accusing the country of "lies and deceit".

The outburst by the US President has drawn an angry reaction, with Islamabad saying the comments were borne out of frustration over US failures in Afghanistan.

In a withering attack, Mr Trump said the US had handed Pakistan more than $33bn (£24bn) in aid in the last 15 years and had been rewarded with "nothing but lies and deceit". He accused Pakistan of playing American leaders for "fools".

"They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" he wrote.

The US Ambassador in Islamabad, David Hale, was summoned by the Pakistan foreign office on Monday.

Pakistani foreign minister Khawaja Asif dismissed Mr Trump's comments as a political stunt made for "domestic consumption".

"He is again and again displacing his frustrations on Pakistan over failures in Afghanistan as they are trapped in dead-end street in Afghanistan," Mr Asif told Geo TV on Monday.

In a strongly worded tweet, Khurram Dastgir Khan, the Pakistani defence minister, wrote: "Pak as anti-terror ally has given free to US: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs, but they have given us nothing but invective & mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis."

The Pakistani prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, is due to chair a cabinet meeting that will focus on the tweet. On Wednesday the country's top civilian and military chiefs will hold a meeting to assess deteriorating US ties.

The diplomatic spat comes after the US said it would withhold $255m (£189m) in military assistance for Pakistan until it cracks down on extremists threatening Afghanistan.

America has long accused Islamabad of allowing internal terror networks to launch attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan.

In 2011, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed by US troops in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

And in 2016, the then-Taliban leader Mullah Mansour was killed by a US drone strike inside Pakistan.

Mr Trump, who has enjoyed New Year celebrations at his private club in Florida, did not just tweet about Pakistan, however.

He also called for change in Iran, where anti-government protests have been taking place for days.

The US President has now returned to Washington after the holidays.