Mullen: Pakistani spy agency assisting terrorists

ISI said to abet Afghan attacks

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A majority of Pakistanis oppose the drone strikes, which they see as a violation of their sovereign territory. Elements in Pakistan’s security services in the past have warned the Haqqanis of impending Predator strikes.

A Western official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Pakistan has been reluctant to pursue groups such as the Haqqani Network, which it views as its proxies in neighboring Afghanistan.

On Sept. 13, male militants dressed like women in head-to-toe burqas infiltrated Kabul’s so-called “ring of steel” security perimeter and attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters, using weapons smuggled in truckloads of construction material.

U.S. and Afghan officials have blamed the Haqqani Network for the 20-hour assault that left 11 civilians, four Afghan police officers and 10 insurgents dead.

“In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan - and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI - jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership, but Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence,” Adm. Mullen said.

“They may believe that by using these proxies, they are hedging their bets or redressing what they feel is an imbalance in regional power. But in reality, they have already lost that bet,” he said.

“By exporting violence, they’ve eroded their internal security and their position in the region. They have undermined their international credibility and threatened their economic well-being,” he added.

Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has written repeatedly to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging her to designate the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization.

Such a designation would freeze the group’s U.S. assets and outlaw cooperation between U.S. citizens and the terrorists.

“This step is long overdue,” Mr. Levin said.

In a statement Thursday addressing Mrs. Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and Select Committee on Intelligence chairwoman, joined the chorus, saying, “There is no question that the Haqqani Network meets the standards” for the list.

“I request that the State Department take the additional step of listing the network as a foreign terrorism organization and look forward to receiving your response,” Mrs. Feinstein said, noting that the network “conducts attacks against U.S. targets and personnel in Afghanistan, and poses a continuing threat to American, Afghan and allied personnel and interests.”

In recent meetings with Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Adm. Mullen has urged Pakistan to stop providing safe havens to the Haqqani Network. CIA Director David H. Petraeus conveyed a similar message to the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, in a meeting in Washington this week.

“There’s been a very clear message to them and to others that they must take steps to prevent the safe haven that the Haqqanis are using,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said at the Senate committee hearing.

In a meeting that lasted more than three hours in New York over the weekend, Mrs. Clinton pressed Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on acting against the Haqqani Network.

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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