Pakistan took "tremendous advantage" of the United States over the years, but the two countries are now "starting to have a real" relationship, President Donald Trump has said, a day after Pakistani forces rescued an American-Canadian family from the Haqqani terror group.
American citizen Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle along with their three children were rescued from the Haqqanis on Thursday after an operation by Pakistani forces based on intelligence from the US authorities.
The couple were kidnapped in 2012 in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip. Their three children were born while the pair was in captivity.
Trump had slammed Pakistan for its continued support to terrorist groups and warned Islamabad of consequences if it continues to do so while announcing his Afghan and South Asia policy in August.
The president thanked Pakistani leaders for cooperating with the US on many fronts.
"Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts," Trump said in a tweet yesterday.
"Yesterday, things happened with Pakistan.
"I have openly said Pakistan took tremendous advantage of our country for many years, but we're starting to have a real relationship with Pakistan, and they're to respect us as a nation again, and so are other nations," Trump said.
"They are starting to respect the United States of America again," he said and thanked the leaders of Pakistan for "what they've been doing".
He said that "in this administration, we will call evil by its name".
Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu said: "On this I agree" with Trump.
"Pakistan is a critical ally in fighting against terrorists," he said in a tweet.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis is scheduled to visit Pakistan soon, followed by a visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The Haqqani network has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan.
The group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.
Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters