WASHINGTON: The United States stepped up pressure Tuesday on the Pakistani government, saying it must clamp down on the Haqqani network blamed for the attack on the US embassy in Kabul.
“The Pakistani government needs to take action to deal with the links that exist there,” said spokesman Jay Carney, adding “the Haqqani network is responsible for attacks on the US embassy in Kabul and on ISAF as well as some others.”
The alliance between Pakistan and the United States in the 10-year war in Afghanistan and against al Qaeda hit rock bottom this year in the wake of the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad on May 2.
In a series of escalating rows, Washington accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency of involvement in the September 13 attack on its embassy in Kabul and a September 11 attack on a NATO base in central Afghanistan.
The White House has since demanded that Pakistan “break any link they have” with the Haqqani network, which was founded by former CIA asset Jalaluddin Haqqani and is run by his son Sirajuddin — based in North Waziristan.
Amid the mounting tensions, Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani on Monday scrapped a visit to London as Islamabad refused to bow to mounting US demands for action against the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani.
Pakistani army spokesman General Athar Abbas said the visit had been “postponed indefinitely” but would be rescheduled. Abbas put the decision down to “the current situation at home” but refused to elaborate further.
Last week, the outgoing top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, bluntly accused Pakistan of “exporting” violent extremism to Afghanistan through proxies and warned of possible action to protect US troops.
Asked whether questions were being raised about the large US aid to Pakistan, Carney told reporters arriving back on Air Force One from a tour of the West with US President Barack Obama that: “We obviously are always reviewing our aid programs.
“I believe the State Department and others have talked about that. I do not have anything new to add on that. We obviously take it seriously and discuss these matters with our Pakistani counterparts.”
Meanwhile at the United Nations, Pakistan’s foreign minister called for greater trust between the two governments.
More than 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed by “the monster of terrorism” in the past decade, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said.
The minister set out Pakistan’s case to the UN General Assembly as her government faced growing US pressure.
“We must demonstrate complete unity in ranks, avoid any recrimination, build greater trust and more importantly bring about the requisite operational coordination in combating this menace,” Khar said.
“Otherwise only the terrorists will gain.”
Khar told the UN summit that “very few countries have been ravaged by the monster of terrorism as brutally as Pakistan.”
She said that among the 30,000 “innocent Pakistanis” killed over the past decade, 6,500 were troops and more than 3,600 were police and paramilitary personnel.
Khar highlighted the death of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a 2007 attack.
“Numerous politicians have lost sons and brothers and fathers at the hands of terrorists. Our streets are filled with armed police posts. We cannot enter our parks, or shopping centers or churches or mosques without being frisked,” she said.
Pakistan is “united in its determination to eliminate the specter of terrorism from our soil, our region and the world. It is important to enhance international cooperation to totally obliterate terrorism.”