That Donald Trump’s presidency has turned American foreign policy on its head in many arenas has not been good news, but the one front that his administration has corrected course is the country’s relation with Pakistan. And the President is sticking with his decision of withdrawing the U.S.’s massive military aid to Islamabad.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, during which Trump spoke on a range of topics, he lashed out at Pakistan, saying “They don’t do a damn thing for us.”
He spoke about the capture and killing of former Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by US Marines as one of the key reasons for the suspension of aid. He said, "You know, living – think of this – living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer," Trump said, obviously referring to the massive bungalow that bin Laden was housed in the garrison city of Abbottabad, Pakistan. The compound was demolished by Pakistani officials after the world came to know about Osama bin Laden’s sanctuary house after it was breached in a late-night helicopter raid, in 2011.
"But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there," he added. "And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year . ... [bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year -- which we don’t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us," Trump said.
Pakistan has historically been among the top recipients of aid by US governments to foreign countries - since 1948, the U.S. has provided Islamabad with more than US $40 billion in direct aid. Nearly half of this has been for military assistance. However, since Osama bin Laden was discovered and killed in Abbottabad in 2011, the Obama Administration cut down its aid which was suspended by Trump.
However, Trump got onto the topic of Pakistan when he was questioned about the criticism leveled against him by the Retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the operation against the Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. McRaven has criticised Trump for the US President's repeated attacks against the news media, saying, “"When you undermine the people's right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands."
Trump during his interview lashed out at Admiral McRaven saying “bin Laden should have been killed sooner.”