ISI maintains ties with, supports Haqqani network: US senator

Head of US Senate Armed Services Committee accuses Pakistan of interfering in Afghan political reconciliation process.


Huma Imtiaz October 21, 2011

WASHINGTON: Hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to squeeze the Haqqani Network, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator Carl Levin said the United States (US) should be prepared to take steps to defend its troops if Pakistan does not take on the threat posed by the Haqqanis.

Addressing an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations on the subject of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Levin said, "it is consistent with established principles of international law for the United States to defend itself against cross-border attacks by insurgents based in Pakistan, and to respond to those attacks."

(Read: Cross-border attacks: Army, FC sent to areas bordering Afghanistan)

In his prepared remarks, Levin said that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) maintained ties with the Haqqani network and provided support to the group.

Referring to his trip to Pakistan in August this year, Levin said he had pressed why Pakistani officials had not publicly condemned cross-border attacks by the Haqqanis and the Afghan Taliban.

"Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani initially said that his government had publicly condemned these cross-border attacks, but he backed down when I asked him to provide examples of these statements."

Levin also urged the US to place the Haqqani network on the Foreign Terrorists Organization list. He said this would send a message to Pakistan that the US would respond to its support to this extremist organization.

As part of his remarks, Levin also accused Pakistan of interfering in the political reconciliation process in Afghanistan to exercise control over groups involved in the process and the substance of talks.

"You can't force Pakistan, and the idea that we can do that plays in hands of who are extremists", he said in response to a question on what could be done to get Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network.

While Levin said that Pakistan and the United States needed to remain engaged, he referred to a recent statement by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar that the US would lose an ally if they continued with allegations of Pakistan's support for the Haqqani network, "Our response should be that if the only option Pakistan presents us is a choice between losing an ally and continuing to lose our troops, then we will choose the former."

COMMENTS (26)

True PAKISTANI | 10 years ago | Reply

at the end of the day " loser has always excuses" and this is what US doing. we put your all reservations into hell if those are just beneficial for you and disastrous for PAKISTAN....

R S JOHAR | 10 years ago | Reply

Pakistan must realise that peace and prosperity will never return to this country as long as it patronises terror organisations.

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