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Global Geopolitical Series: War of words between U.S. and Pakistan

In a sign of escalating tensions between the United States and Pakistan, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Pakistan of playing "a double game for years" and confirmed the administration will withhold $255 million in aid to the country. "They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan," Haley said Tuesday at a news conference. "That game is not acceptable to this administration."

Haley’s comments came after President Trump, in his first tweet of the year threatened to withhold financial aid to Pakistan for the latter’s failure in counter-terrorism effort. Trump tweeted, “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. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Pakistan fired back Tuesday after President Donald Trump accused it of harboring terrorists, calling his New Year’s Day tweet “completely incomprehensible.” A statement issued after a National Security Committee meeting, which was attended by Pakistan’s prime minister and the powerful army chief of staff, said the U.S. was scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan after 16 years of war. The National Security Committee statement said Pakistan is among the countries hardest hit by terrorist attacks, having lost thousands of civilians and soldiers to the violence that has convulsed the region since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Trump’s move came after Pakistan ignored U.S. warnings and let Hafiz Saeed, who is widely considered as the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, UN-designated terrorist organizations operating mainly from Pakistan and accused by neighboring India to be behind terrorisdt attacks on its soil to go free, who then at a public rally called for a jihad against the United States in response to President Trump’s decision to move Israeli embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

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