‘Pak safe havens biggest challenge in Afghan war’

Mullen asked ISI and the Pakistani Army to sever "direct and indirect" strategic ties with the dreaded Haqqani network.

Washington: A top US military adviser to both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush says the biggest challenge in the Afghanistan war is the safe havens that the insurgents enjoy in Pakistan.

"It`s not just about one country, it`s about both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and part of the biggest challenge is the safe havens that the insurgents enjoy in Pakistan," Admiral Michael Mullen, who retired as chairman of the joint chiefs Friday after four years told CNN Sunday.

Asking Pakistan`s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani military to sever "direct and indirect" strategic ties with the dreaded Haqqani network to destabilise Afghanistan, he said: "In Haqqani is the most virulent insurgent group, terrorist group in Pakistan and a great supporter of Al Qaeda."

"We`re losing Afghan civilians, Afghan soldiers, and we`re losing American soldiers because of the Haqqani network. And the link between the Pakistan military and specifically the ISI, their intelligence agency, is very well-known. And I have argued for the need to sever this link," Mullen said.

"That also has to do with getting control of that safe haven. That`s not a new discussion. It`s not a new issue," he said. "It`s long lasting. But the intensity of the recent events and the strategic support that the ISI and the Pak military both give to the Haqqani network directly and indirectly, is what I was focused on."

Asked if his going public was a product of great frustration with the Pakistanis, Mullen said: "As a military leader and as somebody who feels responsible for the 2.2 million men and women in uniform, the effort or actions on the part of the Haqqani network to literally kill my people is something I just can`t tolerate anymore."

UAE, Sri Lanka discuss judicial cooperation
Abu Dhabi: The UAE and Sri Lanka Monday began a two-day discussion to boost judicial cooperation.

Judge Abdul Rahman Murad Al Balushi, director of International Cooperation Department at the justice ministry, said the first round of talks on the subject was held in 2009.

He said the discussion during the ongoing second round of talks will focus on extradition and criminal matters.


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