President Obama’s national security adviser met with Pakistan’s top military officer in a secret meeting in Persian Gulf last week to deliver ‘a tough message’ regarding the Haqqani network, reported The New York Times (NYT).
According to a senior administration official quoted in the report, it was safe to assume that the Haqqani network was discussed during the secret meeting and that the Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani was stressed towards taking a direct action against the militant network.
Earlier, the US officials met with the leaders of Haqqani network in efforts to talk the militant organisation into ending the war in Afghanistan. According to the NYT report, both the meetings were an indication of “Obama administration’s complicated and seemingly contradictory policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, as well as the efforts of the US to rebuild its deteriorating relationship with Pakistan.
The report states that the US State Department is willing to designate the Haqqani network as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation,” but some military commanders are holding back the decision fearing that it might “alienate the Haqqanis and drive them away from future talks.”
The US-Pakistan relationship strained after Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the Haqqani network and for helping them carry out the attack on US embassy in Kabul on September 10. Pakistan’s top military officials and other leaders have met with US officials in several meeting following the accusations to assure them of Pakistan’s fight against the militants.
The recent allegations have become a major stumbling block in improving the relationship between the two countries which has been on a steady decline since the May 2 US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.