Trump gives nod to senator’s alternative plan for Pakistan aid funding

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President Donald Trump praised Sen. Rand Paul’s proposal to fund infrastructure projects in the U.S. with foreign aid which has been suspended from going to Pakistan.

“Good idea Rand!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

In a tweet Thursday, Rand (R-Kentucky) said, “My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home.”

The U.S. announced on Thursday, that it will halt the practice of sending up to $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan. According to the State Department, Pakistan will not receive the funding because officials had failed to take “decisive action” against Taliban militants targeting U.S. personnel in neighboring Afghanistan.

Fox News reported that the funding would include roughly “$1 billion in planned military assistance, including $255 million that was placed on hold in August, and about $900 million in Coalition Support Funds intended to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations.”

Earlier in the week, Trump tweeted out a message that the U.S. had “foolishly” given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years and had gotten nothing in return but “lies & deceit.”

United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley accused Pakistan of playing U.S. officials as fools for years, at times working with the U.S. while harboring terrorists who attack American troops in Afghanistan.

“That game is not acceptable in this administration. We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism,” she said.

Claiming that the suspension of aid would be detrimental to bilateral relations, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry asserted that the country had spent more than $120 billion of its own funds on the war on terror in recent years. It also argued that Pakistan’s cooperation with the U.S. had helped “decimate” Al Qaeda and drive other militant groups away from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

“Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.

Noting that Pakistan has been of little use in the war on terrorism, Paul proposed cutting off aid to Pakistan altogether.

“We’ve sent Pakistan $33 billion since 2002. What did we get for it? Well Pakistan didn’t even help us find Bin Laden, even though he was living in one of their cities for years. Then they jailed the informant who helped us to get Bin Laden. They’ve allowed suspected terrorists to operate in their country. Some say Pakistani intelligence agents actually aid and abet the terrorists. It’s wrong.”

Paul, who said he has been fighting to end aid to Pakistan for years, called Trump’s recent proposal to suspend aid “a breakthrough.”

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