Mullen to Pakistan: Stop exporting terror
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Haqqani Network carried out the attack on the US embassy in Kabul this month with support from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has said.
Agitated lawmakers wanted a firm commitment from the Obama administration to ensure the Pakistan Army no longer provided any kind of support for terrorism.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta assured the US was ready to take any kind of action to protect its personnel, but refrained from elaborating on it in the open forum.
Members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee also pulled up Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over why the Haqqani Network had not been declared as a terrorist outfit so far.
The strongest-ever comment against the ISI came from none other than Mullen, who in the past two years has met the Pakistan army chief for 27 times, the last one being for four hours in Spain last week.
"The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's internal services intelligence agency. With ISI support, the Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy.
"We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the June 28th attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller, but effective, operations," Mullen claimed.
In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the Pakistan government - especially the army and ISI - jeopardised not only the prospect of a strategic partnership with the US, but also the opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence, he said.
Panetta said a clear message had been delivered to Pakistan that it must take steps to prevent the safe haven that the Haqqanis are using.
"We simply cannot allow these kinds of terrorists to be able to go into Afghanistan, attack our forces and then return to Pakistan for safe haven and not face any kind of pressure from the Pakistani," the secretary said.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed disappointment that the State Department had not yet declared the network as a terrorist organisation.
"I've repeatedly written to Secretary Clinton to press to have the Haqqani group added to the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organisations to make more tools available to our government agencies to sanction that organisation," he said.
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