Pakistan has accused the US of betrayal after Washington suspended aid, accusing the country of playing a double game over terrorism.
“The US behaviour is neither that of an ally nor of a friend,” Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on television. “It is a friend who always betrays.”
Opposition leader Imran Khan, a former cricket star tipped as the next prime minister, said Pakistan should “delink” from the United States and run down the American diplomatic and intelligence presence in what is a sensitive strategic area.
The US aid suspension was announced days after President Trump tweeted that the US had foolishly given Pakistan 33 billion dollars in aid over 15 years and was rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools”.
Washington accuses Islamabad of assisting Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network militants causing chaos in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies this and accuses the US of disrespecting its huge sacrifices in fighting terrorism. Casualties have numbered in the tens of thousands.
The US is suspending all security assistance, believed to total at least 900 million dollars, until it is satisfied Pakistan has stopped helping militants.
The harsh rhetoric between the two countries is likely to make it harder to mend future ties and has increased anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. It may also push the country further into the arms of long-time ally China, which has provided diplomatic and financial support and backed Pakistan in the wake of Trump’s tweet.
In the video, NBC’s Islamabad producer Waj Khan gives his assessment of current relations between the US and Pakistan.