Pakistani minister blames U.S. for Haqqani

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- It was the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and not Pakistan, that created the Haqqani network, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

Talking to reporters in Islamabad, Malik said the network -- seen by U.S. officials as enjoying safe haven in Pakistan and an asset of Pakistan's main spy agency -- was present in Afghanistan and those claiming otherwise should give the evidence of its presence in Pakistan, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.


"We will fight the terrorists as our forces are capable of handling them and countering any challenge," he said.

Malik claimed the Haqqanis were trained by the C.I.A., with support from Pakistan, to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Voice of America reported.

"They are operating in Afghanistan. If anybody has got any evidence to this effect [that they are in Pakistan] please bring it to us," said Malik. "We are cooperating with U.S. We will cooperate with every country of the world who is fighting against terrorism."

Malik said he has ordered tighter border controls for checking up to 50,000 people moving between Pakistan and Afghanistan daily.


Pakistan is facing growing U.S. pressure to go after the Haqqani network, accused of using its Pakistan have to launch attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani dismissed the U.S. allegations as a "propaganda blitz," saying during the weekend they "betray confusion and policy disarray within the U.S. establishment on the way forward in Afghanistan," VOA reported.

In a recent interview with Radio Pakistan, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said U.S.-Pakistan relations need much work and hoped the two countries can continue their common fight against terrorism.

Citing the Sept. 13 militant attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Munter said the attack "was the work of the Haqqani Network," reported on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

"And the facts that we have said in the past that there are problems‚ there is evidence linking the Haqqani Network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop," the ambassador told his radio interviewer.

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