Washington: A US State Department spokesperson has said that a leaked NATO report about the alleged links of Pakistan with the Afghan Taliban should not have any impact on Washington’s efforts to ease tensions with Islamabad.
"This is a classified report... It shouldn`t have come out into the open. It was not designed for any purpose other than to help those in the field understand what Taliban detainees were saying. So it was in no way designed to impact on our ongoing efforts to get back on track with Pakistan, which continue,” The News quoted the State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, as saying.
Citing the Taliban detainees, the report claimed that the Taliban were winning the war against terror with the cooperation of some Afghan government officials and soldiers, who say their movement was allegedly controlled by some Pakistanis.
Nuland, who was responding to questions about the findings in the report, said there was nothing new in it.
She said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had raised many of those issues when she was in Pakistan last fall.
On being asked about the release of the report at a time when US is talking to the Taliban, the spokespersons said that in the context of the larger US strategy, "we need to fight, talk and build at the same time. So it doesn`t change the fact that those Taliban who continue to take up arms against the state of Afghanistan, against innocents in Afghanistan, are going to be confronted, going to be confronted by Afghan security forces; they`re going to be confronted by NATO supporting those forces. So that continues.”
"At the same time, we support the efforts of the Afghan government to create a real channel with those Afghans who are ready for reconciliation, and that`s what we`ve been working on," she added.
It was reported earlier in the day that the US had expressed its deep concerns over links between Pakistan’s premier spy agency the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and some extremist organisations.
Although Washington avoided commenting on the BBC story on a leaked NATO report that linked Pakistan to the Afghan Taliban, Pentagon spokesperson Captain John F Kirby said: “We have long been concerned about ties between elements of the ISI and some extremist networks.”
US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta “believes the safe havens in Pakistan remain a serious problem and need to be addressed by Pakistani authorities”, Kirby added.