US Links Militant Group to Pakistan Government
As Reported by ABC News
The United States says there is evidence linking the Pakistani government to the militant group that carried out last week’s attack on the US embassy in Kabul.
The US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, claims there are links between the Pakistani government and high-profile terrorist group the Haqqani network.
In blunt comments broadcast by state-run Radio Pakistan, Mr Munter said: “Let me tell you that the attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago that was the work of the Haqqani network,” he said, referring to a deadly miltant attack in on Tuesday.
“There is evidence linking the Haqqani network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop.
“We have to make sure that we work together to fight terrorism.”
Asked to provide evidence of the link with the Pakistani government, Mr Munter said only “we believe that to be the case”.
The Haqqani network, which is closely allied to the Taliban, has been blamed for several high-profile attacks against Western, Indian and government targets in Afghanistan.
The group is believed to be based in Pakistan but Islamabad has consistently denied links with militant groups.
The US has long urged Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network and suspected the group had support within the Islamabad administration.
Acknowledging that the past year had been tough, Mr Munter urged joint action against terrorism and said that the United States and Pakistan were “fundamentally on the same side”.
But the public comments are a mark of strained ties between the fragile anti-terrorism allies, with relations fractious since the US raid on Pakistani soil that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May.
The Haqqani network is thought to have been behind a number of attacks in Afghanistan, where NATO plans a gradual withdrawal of troops after a gruelling 10-year war.
Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the network, and his son Sirajuddin, who now runs the group, have both been designated “global terrorists” by Washington.
Mr Munter’s remarks follow a warning by US defence secretary Leon Panetta, who said after the Kabul attack that the US would retaliate against Pakistan-based insurgents.
“Time and again we’ve urged the Pakistanis to exercise their influence over these kinds of attacks from the Haqqanis and we’ve made very little progress in that area,” Mr Panetta said Wednesday, a day after the Kabul siege.
“I’m not going to talk about how we’re going to respond. I’ll just let you know that we’re not going to allow these kinds of attacks to go on,” he said.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry condemned those remarks as “out of line”, saying that “terrorism and militancy is a complex issue”.