Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan told Reuters that he believes Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the ISI, still has connections with the Haqqani militant group, a chief driver of violence in eastern Afghanistan, but these connections could be put to good use.
"I do not think that ISI controls the Haqqani network,” Khan said.
“Yes, they would have connections with them. And if I was the United States, I would use this connection of the ISI with the Haqqani network to actually get them on the negotiating table.”
Imran said that the US now wants an exit strategy, because people in the US have decided that they want American troops back.
He feels that the ISI should use these links to bring the Haqqani network to the negotiating table, rather than fight them as proposed by the US, because “then Pakistan loses all leverage”.
Lat week, the outgoing US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen called the Haqqani network a "veritable arm" of the ISI intelligence agency and accused Pakistan of providing support for the September 13 attack on its Kabul mission.
"Haqqani could be your ticket to probably a dialogue getting them (Taliban) on the negotiating table, which at the moment they are refusing. So I would think that's a much saner policy than to try and ask Pakistan to take them on,"
Pakistan's government and army rejected the allegations.
Two weeks ago, militants launched an assault against the US embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul. US officials blamed those attacks on the Haqqani network. Pakistan denies it supports the Haqqanis and says its army is too stretched battling its own Taliban insurgency to go after the network, which has an estimated 10,000-15,000 fighters.
(Read more: Yes we Khan)