Pakistani hits back for Haqqani claims

Sept. 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The blame game in public statements from U.S. officials regarding the Haqqani network isn't constructive diplomacy, Islamabad said.

Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of army staff in Pakistan, said statements from U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, regarding Islamabad's alleged links to the militant Haqqani network were unfortunate.

In a statement, the Pakistani general suggested Mullen knows which countries were supporting the Haqqani network and which ones weren't. Mullen's accusations, he added, weren't based on fact and singling out Pakistan was unfair.

"Categorically denying the accusations of proxy war and ISI support to Haqqanis, (Kayani) wished that, the blame game in public statements should give way to a constructive and meaningful engagement for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, an objective to which Pakistan is fully committed," a statement posted on his office's Web site read.

Mullen, in prepared remarks Thursday before the U.S. Senate Armed Service Committee, said the Haqqani network operates from Pakistan "with impunity."

He went on to say Haqqani was "a strategic arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency."

U.S. diplomats in Afghanistan officials blamed the Haqqani for a 20-hour siege on Kabul last week. The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted high-profile Western interests in the Afghan capital.

Ties between Islamabad and Washington turned sour after a team of elite U.S. Navy SEALs killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden inside Pakistani territory in May.

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