Amid tensions, Grossman due in Islamabad
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington on Friday that fighting Haqqanis was among top priorities for the Obama administration and Pakistan in the war on terror.
Without giving exact dates, Nuland said Mark Grossman would pay visits to Islamabad and Kabul to discuss the issue with Pakistani and Afghan officials in the coming days.
The US-Pakistan relations plummeted after the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan's northwestern garrison city of Abbottabad and recent attacks in Kabul. The US blamed the assaults on the Haqqani network, which is allegedly supported by the ISI.
Speaking to the US Congress, Mike Mullen, the former US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blamed the network for launching the attacks with support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
The Haqqani outfit had close ties with the ISI and was a veritable arm of it, he said, warning the US might take action against the group on Pakistani soil to prevent attacks on American interests if Islamabad failed to do so.
However, Pakistan's top military and political leaders have denied supporting the group and its involvement in Kabul attacks.
Grossman would speak to both sides about the value of continuing the three-way discussions. The tour will also take him to India, China and Central Asia in preparation for a conference on Afghanistan in Turkey in November.
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