‘Strategic assets’: ISI must disengage from proxies: Mullen

Published: September 21, 2011
Panetta urges Pakistan to exert more border control against Haqqani network. PHOTO: AFP

Panetta urges Pakistan to exert more border control against Haqqani network. PHOTO: AFP


Days before he retires as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen has said that Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency has been supporting ‘proxies’ as a strategy.

Addressing the audience at the think-tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Mullen adopted a critical tone and focused on the Inter-Services Intelligence agency’s (ISI) links with proxies in the regions, which he said was part of their strategy. “The ISI has to make this decision to strategically disengage. They have been supporting proxies for an extended period of time,” he said. “The Haqqani piece of this has got to be reversed.”

He said that he had met General Kayani for four hours in Seville, Spain, on September 16 on the sidelines of the Nato conference, where they discussed the Haqqani network.

When asked if General Kayani had given him a commitment on action against the Haqqani network, Mullen evaded a reply by saying that he had managed to protect his relationship with Kayani by not talking in detail about what was discussed in their meetings. “We have a very close relationship … the strength of the connection is what is important so that we can get through hard times.”

In response to a question about US assistance with helicopters for Pakistan, Mullen said that while the US had provided a large amount of military equipment to Pakistan and had focused on helicopters, he did not believe there was a direct link between improving Pakistan’s helicopter fleet and an operation in North Waziristan.

Speaking about India and Pakistan, Mullen said there was a need to understand what Pakistan’s interests were. He added that Pakistan believes India is an existentialist threat to it, but “solving Kashmir unlocks the whole place,” and was the path for long-term solutions.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at the Pentagon, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that Pakistani officials must exercise control over their country’s border to tackle the Haqqani network. “The network cannot be allowed to cross the border, attack troops in Afghanistan and then cross back into Pakistan through the border.”

Referring to Mullen’s recent meeting with Kayani, Panetta said that “we think they (Pakistan) have heard the message.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • dictator
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:18AM

    Hmm,,Same old delusional theory of Panetta


  • Bangash
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:23AM

    Sorry Mr Mullen, GHQ believes a Great Game is being played and that supporting Haqqani/Taliban protects “Pakistan’s interests”.

    Replay of 1990’s is on the cards in Pakistan and public will suffer while our idiot GHQ continues its strategic depth and other baloney military policies abroad.


  • faraz
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:58AM

    The delusional FA pass strategists actually dreamt of conquering Central Asia, Afghanistan and Kashmir through militant groups. Now the same groups are slaughtering our own people.


  • Babloo
    Sep 21, 2011 - 2:10AM

    The Obama administration is in office most likely for next 14 months.
    It will be followed by a next set of fools who are no match to the ‘negotiating abilitry’ of the establishment.
    The establishment will get a new administration to make fools of after next elections.
    The cycle will continue.


  • Babloo
    Sep 21, 2011 - 2:14AM

    Strategic command , with its strategic vision have created strategic assets who are part of the strategy to dig a strategic hole. The hole keeps getting bigger.


  • Haq
    Sep 21, 2011 - 2:15AM

    Pakistani military is playing a very dangerous game. American public is seething over the continuous misbehavior by Pakistan Army. They are testing the patience of Barack Obama and he’s not going to entertain Pakistanis till such time the misbehavior stops.

    Pakistan has taken American friendship for granted.Pakistan is supporting the Afghan Taliban, and Pakistanis should ask themselves this question: Would they consent to live under the brutal rule of the Taliban in Pakistan? Would they continue to keep quiet when women won’t be allowed to be sent to schools, or when perhaps someday Pakistani Taliban will issue an edict that internet is haraam?

    Why is Pakistan supporting another brutal Taliban in Afghanistan when they are just plain murderers. Its an excuse that the Pakistani military is using that somehow Pakistanis don’t want , or are not in favor to use force in North Waziristan. No, but it’s the Pakistani military that makes all the decisions in Pakistan, and putting the civilian argument not favor of any action is just a lame excuse by the Pakistani military to drag its feet and not take action.

  • Roflcopter
    Sep 21, 2011 - 2:55AM

    Haqqani already said they’re no longer in Pakistan. America needs to quit moaning and admit defeat in Afghanistan.


  • Shahid
    Sep 21, 2011 - 3:27AM

    Gen. Kiyani and ISI ought to explain to the nation why they are still supporting Haqqani or any other Militant groups. For God sake leave Afghanistan alone. Afghanistan has no future why do we want to tie our future and drown with them. Our army generals need a crash course on how rapidly world is changing and the directions it is going.


  • ali
    Sep 21, 2011 - 4:08AM

    If our slave govt had the guts..it would have told mullen and pannetta to get out of Afghanistan and shut the hell up…


  • Observer
    Sep 21, 2011 - 6:25AM

    “Haqqani already said they’re no longer in Pakistan. America needs to quit moaning and admit defeat in Afghanistan.”

    To be accurate that was what the Paksitani military establishment wanted Haqqani to say.


  • Pundit
    Sep 21, 2011 - 6:36AM

    @Roflcopter: “Haqqani already said that he is not in pakistan…..”

    And Pakistan had already said that OBL was not in pakistan…..

    Such denials generally prove the converse….


  • Arindom
    Sep 21, 2011 - 6:42AM

    Looks like the Strategic Assets are straining the Strategic Relationship by creating Strategic Problems and causing Strategic Rupture in the Strategic Depth in Strategic Way.


  • Sep 21, 2011 - 7:32AM

    It is a long way from Kabul to Pakistan border. US is trying to hide its utter incompetence. If you can’t police Afghanistan why find scapegoats. Be a man and own your mistakes.


  • Mirza
    Sep 21, 2011 - 7:59AM

    Looks like it is beginning of the end for Pakistani establishment. There is a limit of dobule crossing and two timing.


  • Mariam b
    Sep 21, 2011 - 8:51AM

    One down ( USSR) ,one,to go ( US of A)


  • AnisAqeel
    Sep 21, 2011 - 9:09AM

    When will we learn, after creation of another Bangladesh!


  • Talha
    Sep 21, 2011 - 9:24AM

    Indeed. The number of negative statements and open accusations that are coming from the US makes one wonder if something greater is afoot. As though the US is slowly but steadily building a case to invade Pakistan or at least seriously hobble the ‘establishment’


  • Pundit
    Sep 21, 2011 - 10:25AM

    @Moise: eliminate Haqqani Bros wherever they are!Recommend

  • Sep 21, 2011 - 10:28AM

    @Shafiq Nasery:
    Are you comparing super power resources with a third world country?Recommend

  • Aurangzeb
    Sep 21, 2011 - 10:50AM

    @Shafiq Nasery

    Still there is distance from PAK border to Kabul, where NATO ISAF forces have their presence. why cant they stop these people inside Afghanistan?

    BTW, Haqqani has recently said that they no longer hide in NWA, they are in Afghanistan.Recommend

  • M.Akthar
    Sep 21, 2011 - 10:53AM

    The same Proxies will ultimately conquer China, India, Russia & the Caucus states.


  • Ghaznavi
    Sep 21, 2011 - 11:00AM

    The pressure being exerted by US means that finally Pakistan is doing something right. Why does US want Pakistan to act against Taliban when US itself is talking to Taliban… why should we sacrifices our men?

  • HG
    Sep 21, 2011 - 11:53AM

    When any of the Taliban network claim for any blast Why do you blindly accept there claim??? Now if Haqqani is saying that he’s not in Pakistan you are looking for conspiracies?? Recommend

  • Sep 21, 2011 - 12:01PM

    its a big proof of victory of Taliban against U.S.A & NATO :-D


  • Sad but true
    Sep 21, 2011 - 12:45PM

    @Ali: The same is being told to Pakistan to leave Afghanstan.Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Sep 21, 2011 - 12:54PM

    Those of you arrogantly ask US to take care of Afghanistan remember that US intentionally left some part ungoverned, which TTP has fled to and launching attacks, to force Pakistan to take control of North Waziristan.

    Most of the US troops will leave Afghanistan in 2014, but I highly doubt the Drones will. They will stay on and wreck havoc in the Af-Pak area. Tell me one reason why they wont sanction Pakistan after 2014?

    Better get your head straight and take control of the Territory you claim as sovereign. Else, stop asking Afghanistan and the US to drive out TTP who are launching attacks.Recommend

  • Asim+Ali
    Sep 21, 2011 - 12:59PM

    So what exactly is Nato doing in Afghanistan? The Haqqanis travel lets say at least 100 miles from N Waziristan to Kabul, bomb the US embassy and return to N Waziristan and that too on foot and bicycles. And they evade the drones, the radars, the 150,000 NATO troops. I mean seriously, what exactly is NATO doingin Afghanistan?


  • Sep 21, 2011 - 1:03PM

    Mr. Pundit why US has bangles?


  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:24PM



  • malik
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:33PM


    I think the US is building a strong case to declare Pak as a Terrorist State. Invading a country is expensive, but imposing sanctions and embargoes is cheaper.

    From all the statements emanating from US, I think, they are just waiting for Pakistan to oblige them with a big 26/11 kind of moment. Recommend

  • Hassan
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:36PM

    i just dont get it… when americans can stage raids like abottabad and strike with drone attacks when ever they please why can not they work own the erradication of haqqani network one their own? they seem to be a threat to them only and so far americans have taken care of every treat that has bothered them and pakistan.. why can not they device their stratgy focusing their own soilders and assets and leave us alone since we have already been left out on major occasions?


  • Waqas
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:36PM

    Firstly, I believe that US is again making strong plans to invade Pakistan. They cannot interfere because the entire unit So called Haqani’s are no people but the leaders of Mujahidin Group. The only way they can invade Pakistan is through India. The threats for India are the Haqani group, because 20 people can outbreak the region on its own. They have no fear of dying.

    Secondly, Osama bin Laden never existed in Pakistan. I am sorry but he died in 2003(Don’t believe that then please check Youtube. CIA Confirming his death). So anyone still believes Pakistan is up to all this then they are being fooled by the media. Its the Strategy to invade Pakistan.

    Finally, I am sure the whole government is supporting the statements from the US because the plans that are being made consistently for 4 years now.

    Trust me they just have time till the next year of March. whatever they need to do will be done within this period. Recommend

  • Gul bahadur
    Sep 21, 2011 - 1:40PM

    IF Haqani has left Pakistan,then why the road to kurram is still blocked?Or there is the movement of VIP?You can not cheat Americans any more.They know that the sectarian war is always created for some ulterior motives in this part of the world.Kurram and Quetta have increasingly become the targets simply to facilitate the movements of Haqani fighters.Those who are living in kurram and Quetta know it very well but they are helpless,waiting for?……


  • Jive Slackistan
    Sep 21, 2011 - 3:27PM


    Sure. Just as soon as more than 0.0001% of the Pakistani population accept failure for all their country’s problems (domestic and foreign) instead of blaming everyone else. Recommend

  • syed imran
    Sep 21, 2011 - 3:38PM

    If the US is so frustrated with Pakistan,why doesn’t it carryout Operation against the Haqqanis by it self, It will than realize how dearly they pay for it.
    Pakistan is already paying through daily bombings/suicide attacks in the backlash for its operations against the Talibans. Should Pakistan launches Operations in North Waziristan, this country will get turned in to hell and this is primarily what all these so called well wishers want.


    Sep 21, 2011 - 3:59PM

    Admiral Mullen is not at all fair to the Pak intelligence agencies by asking them to disengage from the strategic assets, which is same as fish taken out of water and then expect them to survive.


  • Straight_Talk
    Sep 21, 2011 - 6:33PM

    @Roflcopter: You seem to believe Haqqani too much. On this count you are a rarity in this world, you must know that. The war is not over my dear. The war just saw its turning point. Pakistan is the new battlefield. US has put Pakistan on the back foot and this is hurting Pakistan. Can’t you see Pakistan limping. If you eyes are so enamored with Haqqani and the likes just wait sometime and you will see Pakistan developing Gangrene. That will surely not be a sweet think to happen.


  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 21, 2011 - 7:56PM

    Only Americans are authorize to proxy war and double gaming,this what Pakistan is experiencing through USA’s TTP .


  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 21, 2011 - 8:17PM

    mr haq,bangesh and faraz your comments got max recommendations,this means American are legitimate owner and occupier of Afghanistan and our destiny continue bulling every body around .It is very unfortunate for all us when people like your type are there.Are you all proud of something like freedom


  • kami
    Sep 21, 2011 - 9:14PM

    Pakistan should disengage from neighbourhood and America should engage them as being endeavoured….wow… great idea….


  • observer
    Sep 21, 2011 - 10:30PM


    Haqqani already said they’re no longer in Pakistan.

    And Pakistan had repeatedly denied the presence of OBL and Quetta Shura. Haqqani’s statement seems to be as true also.

    America needs to quit moaning and admit defeat in Afghanistan.

    And some people need to quit being duplicitous all the time.


  • GW
    Sep 22, 2011 - 8:27AM



  • Megatron
    Sep 22, 2011 - 11:46AM

    US should also stop CIA links with Israelis militants if they want to clear themselves…


  • Ahmer Ali
    Sep 22, 2011 - 1:37PM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.When US officials shall stop the accusing ISI of having links with terrorist groups,Sometimes US officials say ISI has links with Taliban,sometimes say ISI has links with Haqqani.The most importantly how long our leaders shall face all the blames on Pakistani intelligence agencies just for $$$$$ and what Pakistan army is waiting for and why playing a silent spectator’s role on all this the most blasphemous statements for army and intelligence agencies?And how many people have to kill on the name of fake terrorism on the commandments of their worldly master USA.Recommend

  • Kashif Naqvi
    Sep 22, 2011 - 5:31PM

    brilliantly summed! Here it is once again: “Strategic command , with its strategic vision have created strategic assets who are part of the strategy to dig a strategic hole. The hole keeps getting bigger”Recommend

  • Kazmis
    Sep 23, 2011 - 11:03AM

    How do you say the same group are killing Pakistanis in Pakistan? There are so many neighbors of our who are indulged in these activities by using our own people like in Karachi for this game to destabilize Pakistan, but it is also a fact Pakistan could not be destabilized though wounded but standing on foot, like a brave warrior.


  • Pundit
    Sep 23, 2011 - 12:06PM

    @Moise: US is now replacing their bangles with Boxing gloves. Watch out


    Sep 25, 2011 - 10:51AM

    because faraz is not infected with Zaid Hamidism . . . who cant stop propagating GHQ trash over cyber space and media. No one but the people of PAK and its leadership is destroying this country. If anyone still wants to be blind, the world cant help. We already have paid the price in 1971.


  • Farooq
    Sep 25, 2011 - 12:59PM

    My Dear Americans:
    We have to look after our own interests. We cant fight with our own people and with our neighbours. So u must fight because u r here to fight, thousands of miles away from ur country without any good reason.


  • Faisal
    Sep 28, 2011 - 7:44PM

    **If the U.S had any sanity left, they would’ve been showing it right now. But after seeing the clear loss in a useless war for nearly a decade in Afghanistan, instead of running away like the former USSR, they are still trying to put blame elsewhere. Vietnam revisisted.

    who’s a brave person? one who realizes his mistakes, sees through them, and takes correctional measures that the same never get repeated again.

    who’s a coward? one who keeps making mistakes, and for which not only he, but also others suffer. just like using NUCLEAR BOMBS on innocent civilians. some brave military!!**


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