Ties between Washington and Islamabad are strained following the raid by U.S. Navy SEALs inside Pakistan that left al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden dead. The relationship is strained further following accusations the militant Haqqani network has ties to Pakistan's intelligence agency.
U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers last week that Pakistan's reputation as a "respected nation" was at stake because of suspected ties to militant groups like Haqqani.
Pakistani officials have countered that the CIA may have its own connections to terrorist organizations. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said, in an interview with National Public Radio, that "any intelligence" agency likely has ties to terrorist groups but that doesn't necessarily qualify as a collaborative relationship.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, told reporters during her regular press briefing that the Haqqani network remained a top bilateral concern.
"The United States and Pakistan, although it's not always easy, have a vital interest in fighting counter-terrorism together," she said.
Khar, in her statements to NPR, said she was "convinced" the issue was a common problem.
"I'm just not so convinced that your people are convinced we are in it together," she said.
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