Washington: The US should make Pakistan
understand that "halfway measures" with terrorists would not work, an official of the former Bush administration has said,
pointing out that ISI`s links with militants has irked
Washington for years.
"You either fight them or not... The Pakistani
government has to understand you can`t have halfway measures
with terrorists," former National Security Advisor Stephen
Headley said ISI`s links with terrorism has been an
issue between the US and Pakistan ever since former President
Pervez Musharraf`s regime.
"When President Musharraf nine years ago was told you
need to break with the Taliban and join us with the war on
terror, he said he would and he did largely.
"But for nine years there`s always been this suspicion
-- more suspicion than hard evidence but some hard evidence --
that there are elements within the Pakistani security services
that are maintaining some kind of relationship," he said.
Pakistan joined the US in its war in Afghanistan in
2001 and has been an ally but ISI`s long time links with
Taliban and other militant groups in Afghanistan have
occasionally led to differences between the two countries.
"... and it is an issue that the US does and must
continue to push the Pakistani government," Headley said.
He said US-Pak ties have always been difficult to
manage, and they go from time to time periodic crisis.
He said the issue of whether Pakistan is continuing to
give "quiet support" to some of the extremist groups in
Afghanistan will be a crucial issue.
"Secondly, this issue that they`re willing to allow
the US to do some things in Pakistani territory - these much
reported press reports of the predator attacks -- but doing
something operationally with our forces across the border.
"That`s a red line and of course that`s what was
implicated on this helicopter incident here of last week," he
said admitting there have been tensions which have to be
managed. Headley said based on past experiences he hoped the
US will get through this latest period of tension.
Responding to a question as to who is running the show
in Pakistan the democratic elected government or the military, he said it is actually a coalition of the two.
"Well you know there is a civilian government but as I
said it is highly dependent on the military. Does the military
have influence? Absolutely right. Does the military want to
take over again in as they did in the Musharraf era? Clearly
not," he said.
He said in the present situation the military wants
the democratic government of Pakistan to succeed but the
government continues to be dependent on the military for the
humanitarian relief and for the fighting terrorists.