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U.S. demands action on Pakistani terrorist network
“The open question is whether Pakistan has the will or the ability to crack down on the Haqqani Network. The U.S. has done its part to degrade the group’s capabilities but can’t do it entirely on its own.”
Adm. Mullen’s testimony last week to the Senate Armed Services Committee marked the first time that a senior U.S. official had publicly linked the Pakistani spy service to attacks on U.S. interests.
He said the U.S. also has “credible intelligence” that the ISI was behind a June 28 attack on the InterContinental Hotel in Kabul and other smaller attacks. The attacks killed more than a dozen people and wounded 77 U.S. troops.
“In my opinion, Pakistan’s refusal to go after the Haqqani Network, a known dangerous terrorist organization that has carried out several attacks in the past month alone, is just further proof that they are complicit in aiding violent extremists,” he told The Washington Times.
He said the State Department must designate the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist group, which would freeze the group’s U.S. assets and outlaw support from U.S. citizens.
“Since the discovery of Osama bin Laden in [Pakistan], they have proven to be disloyal, deceptive and a danger to the United States. This so-called ally continues to play both sides, taking billions in U.S. aid, while at the same time supporting the militants who attack us,” he said of Pakistan.
Bin Laden, founder of the al Qaeda terrorist group, was killed in a U.S. commando raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May.
Behind the scenes, U.S. and Pakistani officials are engaged in an attempt to salvage the relationship.
“Diplomatic channels between the two countries are trying to de-escalate the situation and hopefully we will once again converge on our common objective of defeating terrorism,” said Imran Gardezi, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.
The Obama administration has not provided any “solid evidence” to back up the accusation made by Adm. Mullen, said a Pakistani official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity citing the sensitive nature of the discussions.
However, an Afghan and a Western official, who both spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there is enough evidence of the ISI’s fingerprints in these attacks.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
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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