ISI still aiding rebels: Gen. Allen
WASHINGTON (PAN): Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continues to maintain ties to the Taliban and the Haqqani network, the top tommander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan told American lawmakers on Thursday.
“I have not, sir,” International Security Assistance Force commander Gen. John Allen said when asked by Senator John McCain: “Have you seen any change in the ISI relationship with the Taliban and the Haqqani network?”
McCain said the corruption issue in the Karzai government and the Pakistani sanctuary and ISI assistance to the Taliban were the major challenges to success in Afghanistan. Allen agreed with his assessment.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in terms of progress in reconciliation talks much would depend on countering the cross-border threat from the insurgents having safe havens on Pakistan's territory, including dealing with the threat from the Haqqani network.
“And much is going to depend on the Karzai government improving the delivery of services and economic development, taking on corruption and providing increased transparency and on the conduct of credible provincial and national elections,” he added.
McCain asked the Pakistan army to understand that continued support to the Taliban was a losing bet. “The strategic partnership would make clear to the Taliban that they cannot wait us out and win on the battlefield, thus fostering real reconciliation on favourable terms to the Afghan government and to us.”
James N. Miller, the acting undersecretary of defence for policy, said success in Afghanistan depended on support from neighbours, particularly Pakistan. “Like Afghanistan's other neighbours, Pakistan has legitimate interests that must be understood and addressed. And Pakistan also has responsibilities.”
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