White House: Haqqani havens 'troubling'

Sept. 28, 2011 at 11:56 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The safe havens the Haqqani network has in Pakistan and its links to the Pakistani military "are troubling," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney was asked in his press briefing Wednesday about Adm. Mike Mullen's recent comments at a Senate hearing that the violent Taliban-linked group is a "veritable arm" of the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate.

"Well the administration's view, as I've said and others have said, is that the continuing safe havens that the Haqqani network enjoys in Pakistan and the links between the Pakistani military and the Haqqani network are troubling," and that the United States has been urging Pakistan for a long time to take action against the group, Carney said.

Carney said "our cooperation with Pakistan has been extremely important, and that Pakistan has been very helpful to the United States in our fight against al-Qaida in particular," adding Pakistan needs to take action to deprive the network of its safe havens.

Carney declined to discuss what action the United States may or may not take in this regard.

Pakistan, which has denied the U.S. charges, has been under increasing pressure to go after the Haqqani network, which has been accused of being behind some of the recent high-profile attacks in Afghanistan including the Sept. 13 one on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Specifically asked about Mullen's charge that the Haqqani network is a veritable arm of Pakistan's spy agency the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI, Carney said: "Well, it's not language I would use."

Later, responding to another question on the same topic, Carney said: "Well, Admiral Mullen testified, and his words are there and they reflect the fact that we have this issue with Pakistan over the safe havens provided to the Haqqani network within Pakistan.

"I certainly am not here trying to take issue with what he said. I'm simply saying what the position of the United States government is and this administration is about those networks."

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