The Haqqani connection: ‘No intelligence that Kabul attack planned in Pakistan’

Published: April 17, 2012

Gen Dempsey says Haqqani fighters present on both sides of Pak-Afghan border; Clinton phones Khar to discuss attack. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

WASHINGTON: 

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey says that they do not have any intelligence yet on whether the Kabul attack was planned in Pakistan.

Taliban insurgents mounted spectacular synchronised attacks on government buildings, Western embassies and Nato headquarters in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan on Sunday.

As if in a knee-jerk reaction, US Ambassador Ryan C Crocker said that the attacks carried the signature of the Haqqani network – the deadliest of all Taliban factions.

Speaking at a press briefing at Pentagon with Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday, Gen Dempsey said Haqqani network fighters were present on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and declined to comment on whether the attack was planned in Pakistan until the US had received evidence.

To a question, Secretary Panetta said there was no question that the Haqqanis were based in Pakistan. “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,” he added.

Panetta said they had intelligence indicating that the Haqqani network was behind Sunday’s attacks in Kabul. “We had received a great deal of intelligence that the Haqqanis were planning these kinds of attacks,” he added. Secretary Panetta said the attacks reflect that the 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. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, meanwhile, telephoned Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and discussed the likely fallout of the attacks. Though Pakistan’s foreign ministry was quiet about the telephone conversation, the US State Department confirmed that Secretary Clinton discussed with Khar their shared responsibility to confront militants.

Both “discussed the cowardly attacks in Afghanistan,” the State Department said in a statement. “Secretary Clinton underscored our shared responsibility for robust action … to confront and defeat terrorists and violent extremists.”

A Pakistani Foreign Office official told The Express Tribune that the government was concerned about the likely implications for Islamabad in the wake of the Kabul assault.

“This certainly puts more pressure on us,” acknowledged the official while requesting anonymity.

On the other hand, President Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the ‘terrorist attacks’ in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.

According to his spokesman, the president expressed the resolve that people and government of Pakistan would continue to stand with their Afghan brethren in their time of distress and difficulty.

“Pakistan has always desired a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan as it was in Pakistan’s own national interest,” Zardari added.

The president also directed Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq to ensure security and safety of women parliamentarians’ who are currently on a visit to Afghanistan.

(With additional reporting by Kamran Yousaf in Islamabad)

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2012.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Blithe
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:05AM

    The incrduelty!

    Rather than focusing on the lapse in Afghsnistan
    the Americans start blame game innuendo.

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  • ALI
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:14AM

    huh not again…………….. y is it that pakistan is the only scapegoat here……… y dont the great champions of afganistan talks abut their own intelligance failure and shear failure to control the small territory of kabul……… blaming is easy but doing is difficult and obviously USA is goin for easy……..
    lets suppose if the fighters came frm PAKISTAN… even then thy have to travel thousand miles (obviously they were not on choppers), neeeded the help of afgan ppl and more importantly help of an insider…., so y dont USA and AFAGHAN govt stop blaming and do sme realjob……..

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  • RizwanTKhan
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Hahahha. This was expected of this US govt. Acting just like Indian govt. This shows that both the countries working for same cause.

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  • u liar
    Apr 17, 2012 - 10:12AM

    When Pakistan is pressed, it responds with the argument that it was also Western Intelligence failure, but fails to remember that the perpetrators are residing, training and equiping in her territory.

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  • Democrat
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:11AM

    @ALI:

    140000 soldiers of NATO equipped with the latest modern warfare, are blaming a max of 5000 haqqani taliban for their defeat? 10 years of this war? what intelligence you are talking about? the one which said there are huge stock of weapons of mass destruction in iraq? hahaha… CIA the most failed intelligence agency in the world… i think afghan intelligence agency can do better… taliban do not have drones or tanks or fighter jets… so what is stopping these NATO forces to defeat them?

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  • Apr 17, 2012 - 12:51PM

    Giving up the hidden policy based on hypocrisy,
    they should focus on total withdrawal.that is better.

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  • Nasir
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:03PM

    @Democrat: The bottom line is that America has not been attacked on its own soil since they started this – so it is a success. In the meantime pakistan has gone from bad to worse because our own government does not want to deal with terrorists they want to shower them with rose petals and attend rallies of banned outfits

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  • R.A
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:52PM

    Too clever intelligence never leaves
    any fingerprints behind
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  • Hit-Man
    Apr 17, 2012 - 2:18PM

    US would not hesitate to carry out raids in NW if they are convinced that the raids were planned in Pakistan and carried out by Haqqanis, which is entirely justified.

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