Top US defense official criticises ISI-Haqqani link

In what is the most open and serious charge levelled against Pakistan since 9/11, Adm. Mike Mullen–chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff–accused Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI, of directly supporting the insurgents who carried out the deadly attack on the American Embassy in Kabul last week.

“With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy,” Admiral Mullen said in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We also have credible evidence that they were behind the June 28th attack against the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations.” In short, he said, “the Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.” His remarks were part of a deliberate effort by American officials to ratchet up pressure on Pakistan and perhaps pave the way for more American drone strikes or even cross-border raids into Pakistan to root out insurgents from their havens. American military officials refused to discuss what steps they were prepared to take, although Admiral Mullen’s statement made clear that taking on the Haqqanis had become an urgent priority.

On Thursday, Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, rejected accusations by the United States of ISI involvement in the attacks in Afghanistan. “If you say that it is ISI involved in that attack, I categorically deny it,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “We have no such policy to attack or aid attack through Pakistani forces or through any Pakistani assistance.” He also said his government would “not allow” an American operation aimed at the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, a remote part of Pakistan’s lawless tribal region.


In response,

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said that the United States could not effectively fight the ongoing war in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s assistance, DawnNews reported.

”They can’t live with us. They can’t live without us,” Gilani told reporters in Karachi.

”So, I would say to them that if they can’t live without us, they should increase contacts with us to remove misunderstandings.”

No compromise would be acceptable on Pakistan’s sovereignty, he said, adding that, a stable Afghanistan was in the interests of Pakistan.

Gilani was responding to Senate testimony by the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was closely tied to the Haqqani network.


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