News / Asia

White House Calls on Pakistan to Break Links With Haqqani Network

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
Kent Klein

The White House is calling on Pakistan’s government to break any links it has with the militant Haqqani Network.  Obama administration officials say Islamabad has not acted against those who attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul last week.    
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday it is critical that Pakistan break any links it has with the Haqqani Network, and take strong and immediate action against it.

Carney told reporters the al-Qaida-linked group was responsible for last week’s attacks and a number of others.  He said Haqqani militants operate from safe havens in Pakistan, and that the government has not taken action against these safe havens.

President Barack Obama’s spokesman said the network is a threat to the United States and the people of Pakistan.

His comments echoed those of the Chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.  Admiral Mike Mullen said the Haqqani Network is a “veritable arm” of the ISI, Pakistan’s military intelligence agency.

Carney said Admiral Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made this point in meetings with their Pakistani counterparts in recent days, and will continue to do so.

Jeffrey Dressler is a senior analyst at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.  He says the most recent attacks are endangering the already difficult relationship between the United States and Pakistan.

“While we can continue to cooperate on a number of other issues-it is obviously in everybody’s interests to do that-this is really the paramount threat, and it poses a direct threat to the success or failure of the mission in Afghanistan," said Dressler.

Dressler says despite U.S. pressure, Pakistan is not likely to abandon its ties with the militant groups.  He says Pakistan needs their help in countering India’s military might and its potential influence in Afghanistan.

“They know that they would lose in a conventional war with India, and so, rather than trying to compete on that front, which they cannot, they will instead use extremist proxy groups that can sort of wage a guerrilla war," he said.

Pakistan consistently denies U.S. accusations that it helps the militants.  Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Thursday the U.S. could lose an ally if it continues to make statements like those from Admiral Mullen.

White House spokesman Jay Carney has repeatedly called the U.S.-Pakistani relationship “complicated.”  Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Friday the U.S. “can’t live with us, can’t live without us.”  

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