At the UN: US insists Pakistan get tough on Haqqanis

Published: September 20, 2011
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Hina Rabbani Khar made clear to Hillary Clinton that Pakistan "couldn't condemn more" the recent attack in Kabul. PHOTO: AFP

Hina Rabbani Khar made clear to Hillary Clinton that Pakistan "couldn't condemn more" the recent attack in Kabul. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK: 

The United States appears to be losing its patience with what many in Washington view as Pakistan’s ‘double game’ on Afghanistan.

A three-and-a-half hour meeting between Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was reportedly dominated by discussions over the Haqqani network, with the US insisting that Pakistan take action against the group of militants that operates on both sides of the Durand Line.

Clinton and Khar met in New York ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session. US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani were also present.

The attack on the US embassy in Kabul appears to have been the impetus for the shift in tone from Washington. US officials said that the Kabul attack changed “the nature of the meeting.” A senior US State Department official said that the Haqqani network was the first and last thing that was discussed in the meeting.

A statement released by the Foreign Office in Islamabad described the meeting as being characterised by ‘candour’, though it made no mention of the Haqqani network or even any specific terrorist attack, though it spoke of both sides’ need to cooperate in the war on terror.

While no commitment was given by the Pakistani side, a senior US State Department official said that the Pakistani delegation understood Washington’s concerns.

However, senior Pakistani officials said that the foreign minister said Pakistan strongly condemned the Kabul attacks, reiterating that Pakistan too was a victim of terrorism.

A senior Pakistani official, when pressed on the Haqqani network, did not answer the question directly. However he mentioned that there were also attacks on Pakistan that were being carried out by insurgents based across the border, in Afghanistan.

The meeting comes at a time when relations between Pakistan and the United States have been strained again after the attack in Kabul last week near the US embassy and NATO headquarters.

Khar also raised the subject of anti-American sentiment in the country, and according to senior US State Department officials, said that people in Pakistan believe that the United States does not do anything for them, apparently reinforcing Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s decision to use the US’ own refrain of ‘do more’ in talks with Washington.

US officials said that while they needed to work on the United States’ image in Pakistan, they reminded the Pakistani delegation of initiatives that they had taken for the Pakistani people – including their assistance during last year’s epic floods.

Other topics that were reportedly discussed in the meeting included the Istanbul and Bonn conferences, Afghanistan reconciliation process and the role of Pakistan and the US in what the officials said should be an Afghan-led initiative. Khar will be addressing the UN General Assembly session later this week.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th,  2011.


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Reader Comments (42)

  • Atheist, India
    Sep 19, 2011 - 9:34AM

    The first quality of being a diplomat is to smile irrespective of what you feel.

    Recommend

  • Clifton
    Sep 19, 2011 - 9:35AM

    Pakistan should in return press US for 50 BN USD in aid to specific programs:
    1. Power infrastructure (hydro dams, gas since you don’t want us to do coal)
    2. Road Infrastructure
    3. K-12 education (train our teachers, rehaul our ed department)
    4. Hospital machines

    That’s all. Just put 50Bn in this only – nothing to arms, nothing to politicans or for military hardware

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  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 19, 2011 - 10:51AM

    @Clifton:
    Why should US give a dime to Pakistan which is playing the game of a double agent.

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  • Ghaznavi
    Sep 19, 2011 - 10:54AM

    If Nato with its 150,000 troops + Afghan army 1ith its 190,000 troops and 200,000 afghan police can not stop a couple of militants travelling all the way to Kabul? How can they run thr country, Nato and US needs to do more to check terrorism inside Afghanistan and stop pointing fingers elsewhere. Neither can they stop militant movement within Afghanistan, nor can they stop militants crossing over from Afghanistan to Pakistan to attack Pakistani security forces and civilians.

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  • Sep 19, 2011 - 11:13AM

    Understand. US just wants its interests achieved. Today its Haqqanis.. tomorrow it will be someone else. US did not give money to Pakistan because they are nice.. they want their job done. They are interested least bit in welfare of anyone apart from their own. Why should Pakistan stir up the hornets nest when it can least afford doing so?Recommend

  • Engr.Mohsin Raza
    Sep 19, 2011 - 11:18AM

    If Pakistan and US started a blame game, they may continue it up to infinity. Both sides of the alliance know that they have some interests and limitations which do not match to their individual interests. The solution to the problem is to establish a well compromised but clearly drawn line, respected by both the parties and well known to all the officials of the alliance else the relationship would end up in a disaster, and it would benefit none of the participants of this war.

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  • Engr.Mohsin Raza
    Sep 19, 2011 - 11:28AM

    If the US continues to eat nuts and offer shell to Pakistan things are not gonna stand longer. Washington is filling the cup cooperation by “the do more beverage” beyond the capacity and it has to spill out one day though Pakistan wants to retain.

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  • Barekzai
    Sep 19, 2011 - 11:28AM

    I think Pakistanis ought to take the message seriously….both Afghans and all allied forces already know that Haqqani is simultaneously ISI and Al Qaeda, all in one….the recent attack in Kabul is viewed as a Pakistani establishment convincing itself of having nothing further to lose. The fact is that you will lose a whole lot more with all things remaining the same. You will not win this war and that is guaranteed, irrespective of Talib/Paki propaganda to the contrary.

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  • Sep 19, 2011 - 11:39AM

    Destabilizing Pakistan, thats the goal. Haqqanis visited White house and all was well until they decided to give pipelines to Argentinian company instead of US. Then Enron happened. Then there was propaganda. Then 9/11 in which three steel building fell down a world’s first. A guy called from hijacked plane from his cellphone, a world’s first.

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  • a khan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 11:57AM

    only thing worse than a looser is a sore looser. USA has lost this war and now need some one to blame for this loss. they spend 120 billion US$ per year in afghanistan on security, our total GDP is 230 Billion!!! how can pakistan be expected to protect the pretty behinds of USA’s chocolate army in afghanistan when they themselves cant!!!

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  • Gul Khan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 12:22PM

    @Was A Pakistan:
    Then US shall have no objection on Pak-Iran gas-pipeline and other projects in between the two neighboring countries.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Sep 19, 2011 - 12:36PM

    I hope these smiles from both are sincere with each other.

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  • Dinesh
    Sep 19, 2011 - 1:04PM

    @Clifton:
    what is the guarantee that pakistan government would not divert it for defense ? pakistan simply creates haqqani, US should provide 50 billion USD to pakistan have control over them. what a way to make living ? I am serioisly asking sane people, how many years you guys can live like this ? whole of the world conspiring against Pakistan might just happen in future, to finish its adventures ones for all.

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  • Maddy Khan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 1:29PM

    I wonder if both the countries have any choice?

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  • peace lover
    Sep 19, 2011 - 1:36PM

    @was a Pakistani

    why should Pakistan sacrifice its army, people, resources and all that for a “friend” who has enemy plans in his pocket? america has yet to pay for the work done by Pakistan on behalf of its “friend.” it is no favor to Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 19, 2011 - 1:45PM

    @Maddy Khan:
    If they reach peace with Mullah Omar and Talibans which is currently in works then they will dump Pakistan. The strategy to dump Pakistan has been prepared if Wikileaks are correct with full consent from countries like Saudia, UAE and I would put Turkey… Pakistan is fast getting isolated… Lack of funds for flood victims is a clear indication of this.

    Recommend

  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 19, 2011 - 1:58PM

    @ameer:
    Please count the number of bodies we had to pick because of our brave talibans from within Pakistan and how many US had to pick and decide who’s war this is. it is our war and we have to fight it. We are led by obscurantist and our middle class has fallen victim to it.

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  • Sad but true
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:12PM

    @PostMan: You are 100% correct. USA did not give money to Pakistan because they are nice. They gave it to fight these terrorists and not support them. Pakistan played a double game. These same terrorists are now causing havoc in Pakistan.

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  • TightDhoti
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:30PM

    Paksitans national pride is now attatched to not doing what America wants even if it is in our own interest, while our own citizens die. Talk about being painted into a corner.

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  • Timour
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:49PM

    Mving away from the Haqqani / USA / Do more debate, I have a more fundamental question in mind i.e. why do we even have ‘Tribal Areas’ where no rule of law exists…if its part of Pakistan it should be under Pakistani law which clearly does not allow anybody to hold weapons illegally or create militias e.t.c….

    In my mind, the only reason we have tribal areas is because we actually want people like Haqqani sitting there as strategic assets to be called upon when needed….essentially like hiring a pedophile to work in your house in the belief that he will only abuse the kids of the neighbours you dont like and not your kids since you’ve given him a place to live….

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  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:53PM

    @peace lover:
    I responded to this question. I still believe US should stop all aid… military or civil and ask the proud nation to fend for itself!

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  • ameer
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:59PM

    @was a pakistani:thats failed argument,talibans never carried out attacks against pakistan until we joined US allaince and imposed war on them.plz tell me how many pakistanis were killed by talibans before our allaince with USA?

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  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 19, 2011 - 3:06PM

    @ameer:
    Fine dont accept it. Issue is who is losing out? The choice is upto Pakistanis to accept the problem of extremism in the country and deal with it and to shun the obscurantist view or make a different choice.
    If you want to remove shackles then reject aid and stand on your own two feet if not then you have to do as you are told by the country that is bank rolling you since you independence.

    Recommend

  • Pragmatist
    Sep 19, 2011 - 3:40PM

    @peace lover:
    Right now, Pakistan’s army has a nation. But maybe some time in the future, that might not be the case. That’s the reason why they have to rid the nation of terrorists today. Ironing their clothes neatly and marching in goose-step might not save the nation.

    Recommend

  • Timour
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:07PM

    @ Ameer: They did not attack us because we armed them, trained them and supported them (please remember we were one of only two or three countries to recognize them diplomatically)….once America attacked them and we cut of ties with them (at-least on the surface) where do you think these rabid, trained and heavily armed hid ?

    Recommend

  • aaaaaaaa
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:33PM

    has america made pak safe

    did they provide missile shield

    no

    did america said that they will stop drone attacks and give technology to pak
    no

    70 billion lost in war america give 30 billion aid

    Recommend

  • Sad but true
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:39PM

    @Ameer: Why did Pakistan join US allaince?

    Recommend

  • yo yo maan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:57PM

    I smell a War coming in Sinkiang ,China. US aid will flow liberally ones again…All will be well….have no fear …just a tiny bump in the relations with USA …All will be well….after all the only two real friends the US has are Pakistan and Israel… Recommend

  • Khan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 5:42PM

    @Ghaznavi:
    If our government is sincere in protecting the border .. They can seal and fence it just like India has done with its border, and MUST send these millions of refugees back to Afghanistan. Out country is not safe any more then why are they living in our country? These millions are either Taliban’s sympathizers, in that case we don’t want them here obviously or Anti Taliban and in that case they must go and protect their country against a few thousand savages. That way any one crossing the border can be stopped for our own security.
    @PostMan:
    I beg to differ, US may not be that nice as we want them to be .. But please don’t forget that it is responsibility of our government to establish its writ in all areas that are called Pakistan … People from our country used to fight in neighboring country on pretext of Jihad while forgetting if millions of Afghans are not against them who are we to oppose or fight in their country? If US even paid peanuts we should be thankful as its our duty to stop our own people from crossing the borders without documents even for peaceful activities let alone going there to create havoc. No one forced Zia to fight against Soviets who were invited in to Afghanistan by its own government when they couldn’t control anti government militias.

    Recommend

  • Khan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 5:58PM

    @Dinesh:
    Mate despite my reservations against GoP and our establishments not going against Haqqanis et al and completely sealing our Western border with Afghanistan, along with sending back millions of refugees who have caused tremendous loss to our economy in three decades, few things don’t fit in the picture.

    1. Why in the first place when the US being sole super power who can send people to moon and robots to exact spot to the Mars, was spending trillions of dollars, sending thousands of Army soldiers and obviously had preplanned well for this (mis)adventure to get a single person, knowing very well if that person is to escape, he will head to the lawless buffer zone in our border area that is thousand of miles away from where he was, but they left the escape route wide open for him to travel by foot most probably and got away with it?
    2. Whenever there is a drone strike people from across the border who come here cheer up without thinking for a second that how would they know the people who got targeted were indeed those who they think they are? When we know the tract record of NATO et al who have targeted weddings and civilians by mistake too … And if its so precise Why have they not been able to hit the snakes head (Haqqanis) who they are pushing Pakistan to do instead, in the past 10 years? Why can’t they first finish off Mr Haqqani and then ask GoP to finish off the rest of its network?

    Recommend

  • Truthspeaker
    Sep 19, 2011 - 6:05PM

    @Ameer: Pakistan was creator of Taliban, funded by USA to get Russians out of Afghanistan but later on it was its own choice to use them in Kashmir and then this monster got out of Pakistani hands and plotted against USA and that is how 9/11 happened. You are right, Taliban did not attach Pakistanis till then but then USA threatened Pakistan to either get into the war against Taliban or get bombed to stone age. Musharraf changed the policy overnight and got into this war…Now what are you complaining against?? Pakistan started catching Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders from within Pakistan, which meant they were there…so who could trust you?? Musharraf caught terrorists and exchanged them with US against dollars per person. So, you acted like a mercenaries…thats how US is treating you now…what is the big talk about?? Get a break….Just think, Pakistan govt has not now asked for donations from the world for floods relief and just see how entire world has reacted. Only china came up with paltry 47 million and Iranians but thats all. What has world asked for to fund this donation?? A third party audit to have a check where this is being spent…Pakistan did not agree to it…Why?? Sir, it is because the intention is always to grab these funds by leaders..thats the society you have….I am sorry that the ordinary civilians suffer because of it.Recommend

  • Sep 19, 2011 - 6:33PM

    There is a very good analysis of Haqqani Network and their real motives here:

    http://pioussluts.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/pakistan-losing-war-is-country-going-to-disintegrate/

    Recommend

  • Jameel
    Sep 19, 2011 - 6:33PM

    @Clifton:

    Pakistan should in return press US for
    50 BN USD in aid to specific programs:

    It’s probably cheaper for US to attack and destroy Haqani network itself.

    Recommend

  • Sep 19, 2011 - 6:53PM

    @PostMan: very wise analysis

    Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Sep 19, 2011 - 7:01PM

    Its time for Pakistan to review its policy on various terrorists organisations which it has been patronising starting from TTP, resulting in disastrous consequences. Haqqani’s are no friends of Pakistan as they are also biding their time to join their brothers in arms at an appropriate time to enforce sharia in this country. Infact if Haqqanis are defeated, it will be easy for the army to defeat Pak Taleban who is receiving full support from across the border. The military has a difficult but an important decision to take and make more sacrifices before it is too late since Pakistan would not only lose all aid received from US but country is also likely to be taken over by Talebans in the near future.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Sep 19, 2011 - 7:29PM

    @Was A Pakistani
    It is people like you who bring bad name to the country.

    Recommend

  • Babloo
    Sep 19, 2011 - 7:40PM

    The screws are tighteni9ng. Is the charade over ?
    I doubt it very much.

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  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 19, 2011 - 10:19PM

    @Pakistani:
    Sir if you dont agree give your counter agreement. If you think mentioning truth if leads to some embarrassment you cant blame me for it

    Recommend

  • Sep 20, 2011 - 2:54AM

    @Clifton:

    What do you exspect from the Americans?! They do not have money to pay thieir OWNdebts to CHINA!

    Actually CHINA ows them already!

    Recommend

  • amit
    Sep 20, 2011 - 7:53AM

    Why it has to be US or for that matter any other country telling Pakistan. Isn’t it clear to Pakistani authorities that they are doomed if they dont go after Haqqanis, LETs, etc.

    From outside we wonder what has USA done to invite so much hatred from ordinary Pakistanis. USA pays you, USA cleans your mess, which in the first place Pakistan should have done and they ensure that countries like India keep talking peace with you. USA also ensures that Pakistan is not isolated in UN or the world.

    Your best friend with all its might still has some distance to travel before it can exercise that influence or help as much financially as US.

    If you dont like drone then send your troops. US can ofcourse go after haqqanis but it becomes a headache when they sneak into pakistan or get help from sympathetic elements from Pak govt. Lets not forget how Osama was found.

    It is not so difficult to understand, well if you are still thinking about RAW/CIA and MOSSAD then lets pray that God intervene.Recommend

  • Sep 20, 2011 - 7:00PM

    Terrorism can not be controlled unless we look at the root. Root is the education system pumping hatred and intolerance in young minds right from class six seven onward. The history has been distorted for this purpose. Pakistan is home to mehrgarh one of worlds oldest excavated settlement dating 7000 BC. leaving mohenjodaro and harappa about 2800 BC; Pakistan starts its history from 712 ad with arrival of Mohammed bin Quasim. time before that is described as period of cruel and despot Hindus. Pakistan has suppressed the glorious history of about 6000 years. with Bhutto and Zia non Islamic history has been discarded, mocked and transformed spewing hatred and glorification of attackers carrying out loot plunder and destruction. Gandhi has been described as conniving baniya. Islamiyat has been made a subject in schools and even in colleges. Vilification of Hindu & christian is a constant theme of education. this teaching has resulted in present day intolerance and hatred even amongst Muslim. Mulla has been put center stage and jihad has been advocated to the extent that it is the motto of the army. what do you expect now except blood shed and mayhem. wake up and open the gates of modern and true education with correct emphasis on religion only then terror will go. results will come in time as permanent peace.

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  • MA
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:44AM

    Pakistan is just being made a scapegoat for the failure of ISAF and NATO forces in Afghanistan. This is an old game. Historically, whenever a war is lost, scapegoats are made to convince people that it was someone else responsible for failure. Fact is, US has lost this war just like Britian and Russia once lost in Afghanistan.

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