Evidence of Islamabad's ties to Haqqanis: US
KABUL (PAN): The US ambassador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter, has said Washington had concrete evidence of Pakistan’s ties with the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani group, blamed for a string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, a Pakistani radio reported.
Cameron Munter told the state-run radio they believed there were apparent links between Islamabad and the Haqqani network based in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan. However, he did not further elaborate on the kind of ties the Pakistani government had with the group.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and NATO have also blamed the outfit for the recent deadly attacks on the US embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, saying they had asked Pakistan time and again to take action against the insurgents, but it was yet to do so.
"We will have to launch an operation against the Haqqani network in Pakistan," Panetta said. The US would take any steps to prevent attacks from Pakistan against its interests in Afghanistan, he added.
Munter called on the Pakistani government to sever its relations with the Haqqani network.
Islamabad has yet to comment on the fresh remarks, but it has denied in the past having links with the network.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group leader, rejected on Saturday US allegations in an interview with the Reuters news agency that the group had safe havens in Pakistan.
Haqqani said his supporters felt secure inside Afghanistan. "Gone are the days when we were hiding in the mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Now we consider ourselves more secure in Afghanistan besides the Afghan people. Senior military and police officials are with us."
Refusing to take responsibility for Tuesday's deadly attack in Kabul, he said senior members of the Quetta Shura had asked him to keep quiet on the incident.
The US ambassador also said all peace-loving people in the region should unite to fight against the Haqqanis who posed a serious threat not only to the US and its allies, but also to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Asked about safe havens in Afghanistan from where attacks are carried out inside Pakistani territory, the US envoy said: "We should identify all such elements and fight them together." He added both countries needed to pursue the rebels wherever they were.
Replying to a question about state of Pakistan-US relations, Munter acknowledged that they were witnessing tough time but hoped the two countries could work together to resolve them for their common good.
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