Brittle relations: Islamabad ‘vehemently’ rejects US ‘proxy war’ claims

Published: September 22, 2011
" If you say that ISI
is involved in [last
week’s Kabul] attack, I
categorically deny it,"
Interior Minister Rehman Malik. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

" If you say that ISI is involved in [last week’s Kabul] attack, I categorically deny it," Interior Minister Rehman Malik. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


As the brittle nature of relations between Pakistan and the United States began to unravel at every twist and turn, Pakistan on Thursday rejected US allegations that it was using the Haqqani network to wage a ‘proxy war’ in neighbouring Afghanistan and that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) helped the group to carry out last week’s attack on the US Embassy in Kabul.

“I would say a categorical no,” was the foreign ministry spokesperson’s response to US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen’s accusations that the ISI was using the Haqqani network to further its interest in the region.

Separately in an interview with Reuters, Rehman Malik insisted that Pakistan would not tolerate any incursion on its territory by US forces targeting militant groups, the interior minister said on Thursday, calling for Washington to provide the intelligence Islamabad needs to take them out itself.

Rehman Malik also rejected US allegations that the ISI aids or has ties with the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, allegedly a powerful guerrilla group that straddles the mountainous border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

(Read: Who on earth are the Haqqanis?)

“Pakistan will not allow the boots on our ground, never. Our government is already cooperating with the US …  but they also must respect our sovereignty,” he told Reuters in an interview, insisting that Islamabad wanted US intelligence, not troops, to root out insurgents inside Pakistan.

“If you say that it is ISI involved in that attack, I categorically deny it. We have no such policy to attack or aid attack through Pakistani forces or through any Pakistani assistance,” Malik said.

Despite repeated attempts, no military official was available to rebut the US claims.

“Admiral Mullen’s allegations are very serious,” said an intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“These are pressure tactics … it has been America’s strategy to shift the war theatre,” he insisted.

At her weekly news briefing, Tehmina Janjua denied that the US had shared any evidence linking Pakistan with the Haqqani network. Thursday’s briefing was dominated by the ongoing spat between Pakistan and the US over the issue of the Haqqanis.

“You may have read press reports of an interview by a certain Haqqani spokesperson recently where he has talked about on where they are situated which is not in Pakistan,” she said in reply to a question about the presence of the Afghan insurgent group in the country’s tribal belt.

(Read: Pakistan, America & the Haqqani network)

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Thursday also joined the bandwagon in denying the presence of the Haqqani network in Pakistan, saying that if someone had any information about the Haqqani network’s existence, they should inform the government.

(Additional input from Reuters)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (55)

  • sunny
    Sep 22, 2011 - 6:58PM

    Well done. Pakistan should adopt a policy of sovereign state without bowing to any pressure from any quarter.
    Pakistan has been doing its best in terminating terrorism despite its limited resources. Pakistan is part of solution not terrorism. US only promised $20 billion in a decade while so far Pakistan’s losses are worth $68b while 35,000 souls perished.
    After 9/11 every day is 9/11 for Pakistan.
    What else US want from Pakistan???


  • Pundit
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:01PM

    Baba Rehman:No US boots on the ground!

    what if the US soldiers arrive wearing skates?


  • Feroz
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:04PM

    Please give us the information first so we can tip off the target like countless times earlier and then tell the World we are being provided dud information. Yes, no boots or Sandals please we are Brahmins !


  • Cityboy
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:05PM

    Can US wear sandal,chappal and sleeper to stay on Pakistani ground?


  • Babloo
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:05PM

    So air is free ( drones, bombs, planes , missiles welcome ) and land will cost money ?
    Makes sense to me.


  • antony
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:05PM

    I like the Pose and Headline because the effect is only at this moment and better savour it else you miss this piece of bravery too!


  • fahad ullah dar
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:07PM

    Enough is enough ,the Mantra of ”do more do more” should come to an end now,We must act like a soverign and indepandant state now.First it was Al-Qaeda,then Taliban,then Lashkar e Toiba,and now this Haqani network who knows tomorrow USA will be saying its Pakistan Army and ISI .


  • vasan
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:29PM

    What happens if “Boots are on your ground”


  • John B
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:33PM

    US has drones and cruise missiles, boots are unnecessary. PAK has them too but can they fire?

    I remember similar bravado from Kayani and two months later Abottabad was visited by US.

    It is likely US has uncovered the web of PAK involvement with Haqqani, among the OBL raid materials.


  • ali
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:39PM if they will tell you..after May 2nd no one believes you…


  • Cautious
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:44PM

    Pakistan would not tolerate any incursion on its territory by US forces targeting militant groups,
    Why not combine forces with the American’s – both armies can conduct an operation under the overall direction of Pakistan with American troops using there technology and military skill to bear the brunt of the battle.
    Otherwise — you may discover that boots on the ground targeting terrorist is better than boots of the ground targeting you.


  • Patrick
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:49PM

    Mr Malik says ‘Pakistan should be given some trust’. Really ? on basis of the following :

    Osama Bin Laden living for years just a stone’s throw from Pakistan Milatary Academy.
    The masterminds of Mumbai attacks are roaming free in Pakistan.
    Dawood Ibrahim – one of the most notorius gangsters living with impunity in pakistan, to the extent of his daughter marrying the famous cricketer Javed Miandad’s Son and he attends the wedding but pakistan claims they do not know where he is ….

    spot the pattern ? Facts speak louder than wors Mr Malik.Recommend

  • Adeel759
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:49PM

    @Vasan. Nothing happens, he means, “no boots on the ground” but sneakers are OkRecommend

  • AnisAqeel
    Sep 22, 2011 - 7:55PM

    Why not to get rid of our strategic assets and start afresh to save Pakistan, just for a change. Recommend

  • Firas
    Sep 22, 2011 - 8:08PM

    I am surprised he did not blame American girlfriends and wives for problems between US and Pakistan …lolzRecommend

  • Atheist, India
    Sep 22, 2011 - 8:18PM

    This day was long due.


  • Mirza
    Sep 22, 2011 - 8:39PM

    There is a simple solution. If Pakistan does not want anything to do with the US, then break all contacts including the cash flow from America. We cannot have both cash and our ego. There are no free lunches, that time has gone in this new world.


  • X-Files
    Sep 22, 2011 - 8:46PM

    What if the boots are stealthy, they may already be on the ground.


  • arharoon
    Sep 22, 2011 - 8:57PM

    i am sure that this time he must have said “let be me very clear, we will NOT alow US the boots on our ground” i have given orders…lolz..just like everytime he comes to karachi and do…


  • Pro Pakistani
    Sep 22, 2011 - 9:05PM

    The same people who act oh so tough in front of the nation, bow down to Uncle Sam, for aid.


  • jutt
    Sep 22, 2011 - 9:08PM

    brothers and sisters please refer to rehman malik’s sayings
    ” “The Pakistan nation will not allow the boots on our ground, never. ”
    he never said the government, as they are already their slaves. so they also expect that the nation will not let it done, its beyond their control….. u may say its an acceptance of their faliure, as they dont want the government to involve, but the nation.


  • fahad ullah dar
    Sep 22, 2011 - 9:13PM

    I was right it didnt take them too long to say it only after an hour here we go they are done with Haqani now it is ISI and Army on trial…Mike Mullen’s latest statement ” Haqni network a Right hand of ISI and Army ”


  • Khan
    Sep 22, 2011 - 9:48PM

    All these people were living in Afghanistan before the American attack … If it was planned by some school kids even they would have known that these guys will run towards lawless FATA .. so the question is Why was US letting them take refuge when Pentagon knew well about this fact … were they naive enough to be spending $trillions, wasting a decade here, coming from thousand of miles to get a couple of wanted men and then again letting them escape on foot most probably to a border which was thousand miles away?
    Another question to ask would be .. Why isn’t US using drones against Haqqanis? are not they too precise in hitting targets always? why have they not been able to hit their leaders in past many years when we have a drone almost every day?
    That would at least show some commitment on the US part and after that, they can put as much pressure as possible on Pakistan to launch an operation against Haqqanis .. as GoP seems to be hesitating due to the fact that Haqqanis are respected in the area and attacking them while they are alive would create a havoc.
    I really hope US is sincere in eliminating these savages and use drones against them.


  • Ilyad
    Sep 22, 2011 - 9:49PM

    @fahad ullah dar: well said brother, and as a first step of being a soverign country let’s stop taking their money…


  • Ahmed
    Sep 22, 2011 - 10:08PM

    Is this the same guy who offered our whole NADRA Database to the Americans? You can’t fool all of the people all of the time… Pathetic!


  • Zain Kamran
    Sep 22, 2011 - 10:11PM

    but, will it blend ? ^-^


  • Pundit
    Sep 22, 2011 - 10:18PM

    On May02 USA violated pakistani sovereignty at Abbottabad.

    Pakistani Response:

    the learned President wrote an OPED in WAPO
    the FO issued a strongly worded demarche
    the NA met in a closed session.
    a Commission was appointed.

    If the is any repeat violation we promise to do all the above much more aggressively!


  • Zain
    Sep 22, 2011 - 10:40PM

    This is Maliks statement in front of media..Wikileaks will leak what did he say(To Support US) behind the camera???


  • Sep 22, 2011 - 10:51PM

    Pakistan should adopt a policy of
    sovereign state without bowing to any
    pressure from any quarter.

    Except that, under post-9/11 U.N. Security Council Resolutions (especially 1373) Pakistan has the sovereign obligation to root out terrorists, terror havens, and terror-training camps from its territory. No action = no sovereignty. So the U.S. (or any other U.N. member) can legally put “boots on the ground” to root out the Haqqanis; Pakistan can’t oppose this without violating international law – or going to war.


  • peace lover
    Sep 22, 2011 - 10:52PM

    all is lost in this fog of rhetoric engineered by america and its nato allies. the question that needs to be answered is: what justiefied, if ever, american and allied invasion of afghanistan? these war criminals now are plotting to attack pakistan.


  • let there be peace
    Sep 22, 2011 - 11:18PM

    If you expect other nations to collect intelligence and evidence about criminals in YOUR OWN COUNTRY (and you keep denying it all), why not allow them to take action too.


  • Cautious
    Sep 22, 2011 - 11:31PM

    @sunny “so far Pakistan’s losses are worth $68b while 35,000 souls perished.”
    Dawn reports that as of 2011 the number is 36,705 broken down as follows : 21,680 – terrorist/insurgents, 11,185 – civilians, 3,840 – military. I have plenty of sympathy for civilian and military casualties but still don’t understand why I should have sympathy for the 2/3’rd that are considered terrorist/insurgents. It’s as though the people of Pakistan are so desperate to prove to the World that their sacrifice is great – they include the bad guys in there casualty statistics. Given the lack of credibility in your 35,000 number I have no doubt your 68b number is equally fallacious.


  • Sep 23, 2011 - 12:56AM

    Its a good step from govt. If they act like this all masses with them. And i think now its the time break the begging bowl.


  • Sad but true
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:35AM

    I love this picture of Mr. Superman, Malik. I wonder where that finger will end tomorrow morning.


  • Naseer
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:46AM

    Looks like a “Royal Rumble” here on ET to me, except few no one is looking serious. Taunting each other, cutting jokes vis-a-vis “boots on ground” phrase, fighting verbally.


  • kabootar
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:47AM

    didnt you say the same thing about OBL for 10 years too? im sure he was found in afghanistan too …


  • Haider
    Sep 23, 2011 - 3:18AM

    Why is everyone worried?
    Is there anything new going to happen?
    Has Pakistan not been attacked earlier countless times by America?
    Wasn’t everything finished when I was killed in that drone attack?
    You will be also killed like me one day, and like you today, people left alive would be worried of American attack as if
    It had never happened before….


  • Haider
    Sep 23, 2011 - 3:22AM

    Are the boots in the air acceptable? are the hellfires, tomahawk and scuds acceptable? Mr Rehman! now people has started to understand what you convey between the lines…


  • Hamilton
    Sep 23, 2011 - 4:11AM

    And if the American do push into Pakistan then What. I guess Rehman Malik will simply come out with another boastful statement, another tall claim on behalf of his masters. Well Pakistan security establishment cannot be blamed or held accountable if the American decide to land in Pakistan after sunset just for the reason it was an unearthly hour and the generals needed their beauty sleep


  • MD
    Sep 23, 2011 - 4:24AM

    Boots on the ground? Ha, ha, ha, if the US decides, it would arrive in Pakistan with entire “baraat” full of sound and lighting and Pak can do nothing about it, except welcoming “baraatis” with rose petals and garlands!!
    Mr. Malik get ready for the forthcoming wedding!!


  • Pundit
    Sep 23, 2011 - 6:33AM

    Whats the difference between rejecting and vehemently rejecting?

    The difference is my friend Rehman Baba!


  • Imran
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:16AM

    Sir! How can you categorically deny this? ISI does not report to you.


  • amit
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:28AM

    And what about the boots used by terrorists?? doesnt that violate sovereignty? The day pakistani authorities understand that it is not American war but it is actually their own, may be it can start moving forward.
    If anything they should actually welcome american boots and jointly fight this war and clean the country from Jehadist.
    Lets be clear China isnt going to either pay so much or has enough influence over world. US covers pakistan from standing all alone.. whether it is IMF, or using its influence over India. Pakistanis who say they dont need USA, better have a proper logic.

    Its just so clear, if you want to move ahead go hard after these nutcases and in fact get help from all. Wonder what is so diificult to understand?


  • Sohaib Nizamani
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:31AM

    Just when the pipeline process has been expedited … Suddenly the haqqani existence in Pakistan has appeared out of the blue….


  • Balochistan
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:54AM

    The Final Countdown has started, the desperate terrorist regime is firing like crazy, but the boots will come and will come with full force and no terrorist will be able to stand the fury of the righteous. The time has come to take the battle to the heartland of terror. The time has come to bomb these terrorists back to the STONE AGE.


  • Mirza
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:21AM

    I understand what you are saying. Looks like the Haqqanis are well protected and well inside an area where the US has no ground presence and no surveillance. Without a credible info about their leader’s location, the drone attacks would be futile. Most of the drone attacks are based upon the ground info coming from the US and Pakistani sources. However, in case of these strategic assets there is no such cooperation from Pakistan. Perhaps that is the bone of contention at this stage.
    I am afraid to say that Bush was more stupid than most think and he did not start the war with much thinking and planning. Be that as it may, the US is determined to take out these terrorists with or without Pakistani help.
    Thanks and regards,


  • PhlyingRPh
    Sep 23, 2011 - 10:05AM

    It should be obvious that Pakistan cannot contain these militant, and if you want to avoid american murdering from killing more Pakistanis than they already have, the govt needs to control or eliminate the first set of murdering. At the very least sedate them until it’s time to repay the US for the murder of some 30,000 innocent Pakistanis. Ultimately, the US owes Pakistan 30,000 lives – that’s the equivalent of 10 9/11’s. So what will it be, continue the cycle of murder of stop it right here?Recommend

  • ameer
    Sep 23, 2011 - 11:56AM

    first of all i would like to congratulate pakistani govt for daring to respond US slander against pakistan.pakistan must prepare itself for any kind of aggression by US because the history tells us that US has always stabbed its allies,for instance saddam hussain once helped US against iran,as a reward he got death by US,same happend with OBL and talibans who helped US against pakistan has also helped US in various occaisions, it must tighten its belts to cope with US aggression.the only way to face US is to join Irani camp and punch it in the face otherwise you would be troden by US.every one must not forget that US is the only country in the world that has invented atom bomb and used it against warmongering nature of US would never stop in future,expecting any kind of sanity from them is nothing more than a delusion. its allies,for instance saddam hussain once helped US against iran,as a reward he got death by US,same happend with OBL and talibans who helped US against pakistan has also helped US in various occaisions, it must tighten its belts to cope with US aggression.the only way to face US is to join Irani camp and punch it in the face otherwise you would be troden by US.every one must not forget that US is the only country in the world that has invented atom bomb and used it against warmongering nature of US would never stop in future,expecting any kind of sanity from them is nothing more than a delusion.


  • Sep 23, 2011 - 1:19PM

    Alhamdullilah, Pakistan has come to the point (during all this war on terrorism) that it has gathered courage enough to show a shining mirror to Obama administration and dying(outgoing) Mullen instead of being merely a ‘Yes Man’. Bravo to Pakistan (Malik and Female Khar)! on sending US a strong message that an ally should be paid the due respect. Well, one may only hope that this courageous attitude and responses may have not resulted owing to a ‘dutch courage’ – a courage bound to be repented.


  • Larki Desi
    Sep 23, 2011 - 2:06PM

    All this talk about boots. Ok just suppose the boots arrive. what is Pakistan going to do? shoot off its nukes? DUH!


  • harkol
    Sep 23, 2011 - 5:03PM

    I think Pakistan Home Ministry & Foreign office has a template that says “WE REJECT” and they add on what ever is said on a given day by international community. If it was one country that was accusing Pakistan of duplicity and rogue behavior, may be majority of International Community would’ve sympathized.

    But virtually every country that borders Pakistan and its biggest donor are accusing it of being a terrorist nation. If pakistan can’t wake up to this reality, then it is asking for another 1972 kind of breakup. 180million folks will continue to live, but they won’t live as a single rogue nation – world won’t allow that.


  • Khan
    Sep 23, 2011 - 5:14PM

    Yes but then Bush was only authorizing campaigns not overlooking it or planning it .. That is done by seasoned professionals of Pentagon .. that’s like planning our own war strategy on Zardari instead of GHQ.
    I have to agree with your first part .. We do need to realize one thing, either Waziristan is part of our country and stop these groups who are attacking another country even if we have to use force or if we are using the excuse that its lawless region then have to let Americans and Nato sort it out without interfering in it.
    No matter what some right wing myopic people call it but the reality is, these people are crossing that border for attacking Americans and some one has to stop them from doing so.


  • John Darling
    Sep 24, 2011 - 5:25AM

    No boots on the ground, eh? I guess that Raymond Davis, the rest of the CIA shills and the SEALS were wearing sneakers then.


  • Ibrahim
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:11PM

    Pakistan should strengthen ties with other allies as these ones never were and never will be.
    Coeced into a war which was never ours. Then forced us to kill our own people. Caused economic loss in excess of $68 billion. The US has no right to tell Pakistani people commit any more suicidal missions. Its time to apologise to the people of Pakistan for the immense human and economic cost inflicted by US. And give up the planners of the Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan wars to the International Court of Justice for war crimes trial. Then and only then will they equal us on moral grounds.


  • Just Me
    Sep 24, 2011 - 7:41PM

    @jutt: Boots on the ground refers to soldiers. It is fine to say Paki will not allow boots on the ground, what about the spies? There are 80-160 Blackwater spies who were given visas, but they do not count? They are the real problem doing covert bombings and blaming it on other people and groups just to start fighting between groups who were not fighting. They are the ones destabilizing the country, so that the foreign investors can come and get that oil in Balochistan.


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