Pakistan summons U.S. ambassador after Trump's angry tweet

President Trump welcomed 2018 at his Mar-a Lago resort. His first tweet of the year appeared at 8am

President Trump welcomed 2018 at his Mar-a Lago resort. His first tweet of the year appeared at 8amEVAN VUCCI AP

Hours after Trump's tweet a top White House official confirmed that Washington has indeed made a decision to block $255 million aid to Islamabad. Trump wrote on his Twitter account, adding that: "They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help".

Asif said Trump's tweet was borne out of frustration and that the United States should pursue dialogue with Afghanistan's insurgents rather than military force.

Commenting on the tweet, Dastagir said Pakistan had extended unprecedented cooperation to the United States for eliminating Al-Qaeda from its soil and Afghanistan, besides fighting the war against terrorism. Pakistan has been one of the largest recipients.

Of foremost concern in the U.S. is Islamabad's attitude toward the powerful Haqqani network, whose leader Sirajuddin Haqqani is the deputy leader of the Afghan Taliban.

The payment has been on hold since August, out of the Trump administration's insistence that Pakistan do more to crack down on extremists who threaten Afghanistan.

Yet Afghanistan and the US have long accused Pakistan of providing safe havens and Pakistan's former adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz had previously publicly stated that Afghan militants have been living for decades in Pakistan.

However the Pakistani military launched an operation there in 2014, and now insists it has eradicated all safe havens in the country.

"The United States does not plan to spend the Dollars 255 million in FY 2016 in Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan at this time", a senior administration official told PTI, on the condition of anonymity.

The remarks triggered a series of high-level diplomatic meetings in the United States and Pakistan, but Islamabad has given few signs of concessions.

"It will only add to the acrimony that has crept into the bilateral relationship after Trump's arrival in the White House", he told AFP, describing Washington's approach as "more bullying than rational".

The New York Times reported on December 29 that United States officials had sought but been denied access to a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network captured in Pakistan who potentially could provide information about at least one American hostage.

He also noted that the assumption in Pakistan is that India is fuelling Trump's hostility towards Islamabad.

Trump's senior administration officials met last month to decide what to do about the money.

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