WASHINGTON: Following an 18-hour long attack on Afghan capital Kabul, the US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey declared that the US does not have any intelligence yet on whether the deadly weekend attack was planned in Pakistan.
Addressing reporters at the Pentagon during a press conference with the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Monday, CJCS General Dempsey revealed that the 36 attackers who terrorised Kabul were linked to the infamous Haqqani networks, a group of battle hardened militants spread on both sides of the Durand line, were involved, but declined to comment on whether the attack was planned in Pakistan.
In response to a question, Secretary Panetta said that there was no question that the Haqqanis were based in Pakistan, however. “They have also moved across the border and operate in enclaves in Afghanistan. There is a concern that they continue to find safe haven in Pakistan. We have made clear to the Pakistanis that this is not tolerable,” said the Secretary of Defense, without committing to whether Haqqanis planned the Kabul attack while on Pakistani soil.
Speaking at the press conference, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that they had intelligence that indicates that the Haqqani networks were behind the attacks that took place in Kabul over the weekend. “We had received a great deal of intelligence that the Haqqanis were planning these kind of attacks,” he said. The former CIA head said that the attacks reflect Taliban are resilient, and this was the beginning of their spring offensive. However, he added that they believed that with the Afghan Army, the US would be able to combat these attacks.
In response to a question, Secretary Panetta said that they would continue to see efforts by the Taliban to undermine confidence in Afghanistan, but it “hasn’t worked in the past, won’t work in the present,” he said. The US Secretary of Defense added that it was clear to everyone including the Afghan people that the US was headed in the right direction.
Earlier on Monday, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had also called Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to discuss the weekend’s events and of taking Pakistan-US ties further.