US met Haqqani network: Clinton

By AFP
Published: October 21, 2011
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a joint press conference with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar after their talks at the Pakistani Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on October 21, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a joint press conference with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar after their talks at the Pakistani Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on October 21, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday admitted the United States held one exploratory meeting with the Haqqani network, which an official said took place before a series of massive attacks.

“In fact, the Pakistani government officials helped to facilitate such a meeting,” Clinton told a roundtable with television journalists watched by the US travelling media.

A US official said the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) had arranged for the meeting with the group that took place “in the summer”, before two symbolic anti-American attacks in Afghanistan.

Following two days of talks in Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to hasten an end to the 10-year war Clinton said that “we do not see any contradiction” between fighting and talking.

“And we want more coordination between the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan for what must be, with respect to the conflict, an Afghan-led effort,” the chief US diplomat said.

“We believe that there is now an opportunity for us to begin talking, but there is no guarantee that the talking will result in anything that will move us toward a peaceful resolution,” Clinton said.

“We are going to continue fighting where necessary to protect our interests, and so are the Pakistani military because you cannot allow terrorists to gain ground,” she said.

“But we are also open to talking. We have reached out to the Taliban, we have reached out to the Haqqani network to test their willingness and their sincerity,” she said.

“And we’re now working among us – Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States – to try to put together a process that would sequence us toward an actual negotiation,” she said.

But referring to the meeting with the Haqqani network, she said “we’re not in any kind of negotiations. We’ve had one preliminary meeting just to see if they would show up.”

A State Department official said later the meeting occurred in the summer before a truck bombing wounded 77 Americans on a US base and a 19-hour siege of the US embassy in Kabul, both in September and both blamed on the Haqqanis.

“We have had a lot of informal straws in the wind. It was one meeting. It was in summer,” the official said.

“We had it because ISI asked us to have it, and the Afghans also knew about it and our message was very clear: ‘the door is open to those who can meet these red lines, and those who want to keep fighting us… we are prepared for that fight.”

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:04PM

    Hillary is walking with those people who want to walk and talking with such people who want to talk, but the option to fight is also open with such people who want to fight a war.

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  • Babloo
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:17PM

    Madam, what you call as poisonous snakes are viewed as strategic assets bestowing strategic depth.
    The reason, US pays billions dollars to Pakistan ( and not to say Nepal ) is because Pakistan has those strategic assets which everyone wants to snatch away from them.
    Thats why they are so dear and precious.
    If they are gone, who will pay Pakistan billions ?
    Please think smartly.

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  • An EHM
    Oct 21, 2011 - 9:22PM

    @ Babloo

    Billions? what about a cost of more than 70 billion dollars and more than 35000 deaths? in the last ten year US only gave 20 billion dollars thats not even compensation..what are you talking about? and US is not that generous they give that peanuts for making pakistan fight US war. And you better go and solve your own problems? you have a lot more extremists in india than you assume for pakistan. RSS and others are always there for evidences. What about Samjotha express in which the India army was involved and when Hemant karkaray exposed them he was killed in the so called mombai attacks.

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  • Oct 21, 2011 - 9:34PM

    So let me get this straight, first the U.S. asks Pakistani premier Intelligence Agency the ISI for their help in meeting Haqqanis and then they turn around and try to bring ISI under the gun with statements such as Haqqanis being a “veritable arm” of ISI.

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  • Asif
    Oct 21, 2011 - 9:41PM

    Pakistan and Iran should made it crystal clear that they will not tolerate any US presence in the region, and that peace will only happen when the US leaves. Drone attacks need to be ended, and the presence in the region needs to be ended. They are unwelcome, and region as a whole is against them.Recommend

  • Jadugar
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:40PM

    “Action against the Haqqanis” So its written and so it shall be done!!!!!

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  • Syed
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:19PM

    Agree with ‘An EHM’… @ Babloo… you need to get your facts “correct” Billions are only written on papers & discussed in news conferences and spelled out by people like you. The ground reality is quite different. (don’t take it as offense but do a thorough research first).
    Thanks!

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  • G. Din
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:39PM

    @Asif:
    “Pakistan and Iran should made it crystal clear that they will not tolerate any US presence in the region, ..”
    Neither Pakistan nor Iran, individually or together , are the “thekedars” of this region and have no authority to speak for it. How are you going to force that warning if every one else wants US to continue in this region? You are getting short of assets with every day!

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  • Human
    Oct 22, 2011 - 12:08AM

    It mean those the mediator is responsible to hang the party he brought for the talks. It looks strange to me, is this whole mess in Afghanistan will end, when Afghans are fragmented into different group and these groups are funded and protected by other countries.

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  • John B
    Oct 22, 2011 - 12:39AM

    ISI wanted to have conversation, US complied, and then Haqqani attacked US twice. So every one is clear where the Haqqani stands.

    Mr. Malik said “Haqqanis’ are sons of the soil” – So it is also clear where PAK and Haqqani stand.

    “Give peace a chance” slogan is all hogwash at the all party conference and Clinton is here to clarify the misinformation PAK establishment is giving to PAK.

    The snake analogy said it all. Time for PAK to cast her lot has come.

    As complete US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of this year is just announced, the US will be fully focused in Afghanistan. Writing is on the wall.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 22, 2011 - 1:24AM

    So Pakistani ISI has been acting as the US and Haqqani broker! Good to know that it is now an open secret. Finally sombody admitted that they have close confidential relations with the terrorist groups.

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  • ishtiaer hussain
    Oct 22, 2011 - 1:29AM

    If Americans want a honourable exit from Afghanistan, what’s wrong with it? Americans are ready to negotiate with Taliban and include them in the emerging political set-up of Afghanistan. The only problem is Taliban’s continued support for Al-Qaeda which is not acceptable to the US. I think our generals want to keep the US engaged in ‘the graveyard of empires” so that they would keep harvesting dollars.

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  • Abbas from the US
    Oct 22, 2011 - 2:41AM

    @Asif:

    Pakistan and Iran have opposing interests in Afghanistan. If the majority ehthnic group that speaks Pashto, share ethnicity with Pakistani Pashtoons and ideoligical sectarian commonolity with the majority of Pakistanis, the 25% Tajik and their languare language Dari is a variation of Farsi and culturally closer to Iran, while sharing festivals like Naoroze the Persian new year. The majority of sectarian Deobandi Pashtoons reject Shiaism as a deviant form of Islam.

    Iran under international pressure led by the US. suspicious of Iran’s dangerous nuclear activities may have made a strategic error from its own point of view in supporting the ouster of the Taliban regime and the installing of the Northern Alliance goverment led by token Pashtoon leadership namely Karzai.

    Now that the US seeks some form of permanent presence in Afghanistan to keep an eye from close vantage point over Iran and Pakistan and off course China, both Iran and Pakistan have found common cause, but with the Bonn conference looming on the horizon time is running out, for the long promised Taliban leadership including the Haqqani faction to be delivered to the negotiating table, and thats what this disagreeement is all about between the US and Pakistan.

    The Haqqani representatives are beleived to have met with the US officials before the attack on the US embassy in the presence of Pakistani ISI chief Pasha.

    But even Indian external affairs minister Krishna has spoken out yesterday about the need for healing the rift between the US and Pakistan. And what does that tell you?

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  • Rana Athar Javed
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:47AM

    This statement is full of hope and admisssion that Pakistan has to play an important and key role in helping the US to stabilize Afghanistan. Haqqanis & Talibans are together against the foreign occupied forces. Pakistan needs to avail this opportunity and step up its efforts neutralize the hostile elements through dialogue and cooperation. ISI and CIA cannot work without each other, rather than no agency can operate in isolation in that region, so, take this as an opportunity and turn into a real startegic gain for Pakistan.

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  • OmarSharif
    Oct 22, 2011 - 5:10AM

    @Asif:
    Unfortunately you are right partially. Most people in the region don’t was US presence, but strongly support Fazlullah and Haqqani.
    Think about it- if these elements are eliminated from there, the US will leave without asking.

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  • Asif
    Oct 22, 2011 - 8:37AM

    @ G Din,

    I didn’t know India was “everyone else” US admitted defeat in Afghanistan when they 1) announced withdrawal and 2) asked for talks. The loser talks firsts, a golden rule whereas the one being requested to talk always has the upper hand.

    China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have made it clear that the US presence has to end. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki passed remarks that the Afghans will defeat the US if the US does not negotiate withdrawal.

    I don’t know which “everyone” you are talking about because the region militates against the US meddling. If anything, US threats against Iran and Pakistan have brought both countries together, and with China in the background behind the IP pipeline, the US game is over.

    Afghanistan will be free, and the government in exile will return to power. There is no other alternative end to this instability which is tied to the US meddling and presence in the region.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. Quit dreaming. Iran, Pak, China, Russia are all on the same page in regards to a free Afghanistan.

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  • csmann
    Oct 22, 2011 - 10:17AM

    @Asif:

    government in exile?meaning al-qaida and taliban.i think people like those are needed to rule you people to bring you to your senses.us doesn’t give a damn about your mess;it was that these cowards instituted 9-11,killing nothing but civilians;you just keep them in your homes,and usa dont care as long as you dont send the cowards to the civilised world ;they have enough of pakistan to experiment their bravery on.Us still cares that civilians are protected even when these civilians are protecting the terrorists;if US was to behave like these cowards,pakistan would have been all dust by now. so keep your strategic assets, and dont fool with the civil societies

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  • Jeddy
    Oct 22, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Pakistan has just as many nuclear weapons now – as the USA and the USSR had in the 1950s then it was called a Cold War. The USA knows the consequences of provoking Pakistan too much. The USA however does not show it is terrified. When Bush’s Secretary of State Richard Armitage blatantly said about Pakistan “We will bomb back into the stone-age” with absolute arrogance. Later when he was told that Pakistan has nuclear weapons, he denied ever having said anything like that.

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  • csmann
    Oct 22, 2011 - 2:59PM

    @Jeddy:
    how are the nuclear weapons going to work against america;in operation desert shield,iraq was not able to launch one flight having all that fleet of airplanes;usa are not cowards like osama and their ilk to attack innocent citizens;and those same people are killing innocent pakistanis everyday ;looks like none of your near and dear has felt the wrath of these animals…Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:27PM

    @Babloo:
    your comments insult the indian wisdom. leasr said about is betterRecommend

  • G. Din
    Oct 22, 2011 - 6:23PM

    @Asif:
    For your information, even Indians don’t think India speaks for or even would like to speak for, “everybody”. In this case, “everybody” comprises, in the first instance, Afghanistan. Pakistan’s deeds have cost this poor, proud nation all the suffering for the last about forty years. If Pakistan, fancying itself as some “power to reckon with” in this region had minded its own business, the region, as you have called it would have been far more peaceful and in the process Pakistan would not have been in the mess it finds itself in. Once Pakistan gets rid of this unfounded pretentiousness, minds its own business and behaves like a power of third ranking that it actually is, our region will start to heal. That can happen only when it is first made to touch hard solid ground and to realize the contours of very limited power! The Indian “trolls” – as we are being called – commenting here, are focused on this task – to make Pakistanis realize that!Recommend

  • Asif
    Oct 22, 2011 - 11:16PM

    @GDin

    Pakistan should leave Afghans alone and stop supporting this doomed US war on the Afghan people.

    Afghanistan has the right to self determination just as any other nation. US attacked Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan, the list goes on. They need no justification, they make them up themselves. In regards to terrorism, foreigners have been meddling in the Muslim world for far too long. In recent times, this started wiht the soup on Mossadeq of Iran after he nationalized OIL.

    Fearngiyan need to leave the Muslim world alone. That is your answer.

    @CSMann. US attacked Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan, the list goes on and on. US planned the coup that removed Mossadeq from power, and installed the Shah. There was no terrorism there. Fortunately, with the decline of the US economy, they no longer can wage anymore wars.

    Recently, and in a limited way, US invaded Uganda with 100 forces. They wish they could have sent more, but they have lost that ability due to a failing economy.

    Game over. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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  • PMC
    Oct 23, 2011 - 12:23AM

    USA should stop paying Pakistan so Called Billions of dollars immediately and let the Pakistanis solve their own destiny. The so called billions does not support ordinary Pakistani, it only goes to plunderers and the looters like Politicians, bureaucrats and cronies in the name of aid or support. These ashrafia loot the country and bring back to western banks. Pakistan gets in debts. USA needs money for their own poor people for jobs, infrastructure, education and health. Otherwise there is uprising coming to USA sooner than later.

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