ISLAMABAD – Pakistan affirmed on Friday it would continue to fight terrorism with its own resources after the United States suspended a major part of its aid to the country until it takes measures against terrorist groups considered a threat for Washington.
In a statement, the foreign ministry said that Pakistan had mostly used its own resources in the fight against terror, which had cost over $120 billion in 15 years.
“We are determined to continue to do all it takes to secure the lives of our citizens and broader stability in the region,” said the ministry.
The Pakistan-US cooperation in counter-terrorism had directly served the international community and the US’ national security and helped to decimate Al-Qaeda, read the statement.
“Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats,” it added.
The Pakistani government was in contact with the US authorities and awaited more details on their decision, the consequences of which would become clearer with time, it said.
Moreover, the Pakistani government claimed that conflict on its soil has cost the lives of 62,421 people, 50,000 of them civilians, since 2003, and caused losses to the tune of $123 billion.
Pakistan’s reaction came a day after Washington announced the suspension of a major part of its security aid to the Asian country until Islamabad takes “decisive” steps against terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and American interests.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert made the announcement at a press conference at which she added that the money would be frozen, not be allocated elsewhere, to maintain “necessary flexibility” regarding the decision.
The State Department also announced Thursday that Pakistan would be included on a special watch list over severe attacks on religious freedom.
These US decisions came after Trump on Monday posted a harsh message on Twitter in which he accused Islamabad of “lies and deceit” and “giving safe haven to the terrorists.”
The US “has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years,” Trump said in a tweet.
The US and Afghanistan have for years accused Pakistan of providing refuge to the Taliban’s Haqqani network, which stages attacks on US and Afghan troops, a claim that Islamabad denies.
Some of the most wanted terrorists in the world have resided on Pakistani soil, such as Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by the US forces in Abbottabad in 2011, and Afghan Taliban founder Mullah Omar, who died in a hospital in Karachi in 2013.
Omar’s successor, Mullah Mansour, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistani territory in May 2016.