Kabul: In a comment which could further strain Washington-Islamabad ties, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday said that his country is reaching its limit of patience with Pakistan to eradicate the terrorist Haqqani network.
In Kabul, Panetta addressed a news conference with Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak.
Panetta arrived in the Afghan capital for talks with military leaders amid rising violence in the war against the Taliban and a spate of deadly incidents, including a NATO air strike said to have killed 18 villagers.
"It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan," Panetta told reporters.
"It is very important for Pakistan to take steps. It is an increasing concern, the issue of safe haven, and we are reaching the limits of our patience."
Notably, the Haqqani network has claimed responsibility for several attacks on Americans, including last year`s attack against the US embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul. It also has ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban and has emerged as perhaps the biggest threat to stability in Afghanistan.
US lawmakers have been urging the State Department to designate the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation.
The US has given Pakistan billions of dollars in aid for its support in fighting Islamist militants.
(With Agency inputs)