Washington: In a severe indictment of Pakistan`s links with terror groups, top US military commander on Thursday said the ISI provided support to the Haqqani terror network in carrying out the recent attack on the country`s
embassy in Kabul.
"The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency. With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in
his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations," he said.
"In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan -- and most especially the Pakistani Army and ISI -- jeopardises not only the prospect of our strategic partnership, but also Pakistan`s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence,” Mullen said.
He said Pakistan may believe that by using these proxies they are hedging their bets, or redressing what they feel is an imbalance of regional power but in reality, they have already lost that bet.
"By exporting violence, they have eroded their internal security and their position in the region. They have undermined their international credibility and threatened their economic well-being.
"Only a decision to break with this policy can pave the road to a positive future for Pakistan," Mullen said.
The Admiral added, "As you know, I have expended enormous
energy on this relationship. I`ve met with General Kayani more
than two dozen times -- including a two-and-a-half hour
meeting last weekend in Spain.
"I`ve done this because I believe in the importance of
Pakistan to the region, because I believe that we share a
common interest against terrorism, and because I recognise the
great political and economic difficulties Pakistan faces."
Referring to his meetings with Pakistan Army chief in the
past two years, Mullen said some may argue he have wasted his
time, that Pakistan is no closer to US than before... and may
now have drifted even further away.
"I disagree. Military cooperation is warming. Information
flow between us and across the border is quickening.
Transparency is returning, slowly," he noted.
"With Pakistan`s help we have disrupted al Qaeda and its
senior leadership in the border regions and degraded its
ability to plan and conduct terror attacks.
"Indeed, I think we would be in a far tougher situation
today, in the wake of the frostiness which fell over us after
the bin Laden raid, were it not for the groundwork General
Kayani and I had laid -- were it not for the fact that we
could at least have a conversation about the way ahead,
however difficult that conversation might be," Mullen said.
He said what matters most right now is moving forward.
While the relationship must be guided by clear principles
to which both sides adhere, Mullen said "we can no longer
focus solely on the most obvious issues."
"We should help create more stakeholders in Pakistan`s
prosperity, help the Pakistani people address their economic,
political, and internal security challenges, and promote
Indo-Pak cooperation on the basis of true sovereign equality,"