Washington: The US warned Pakistan that it would act on its own as it did against Osama bin Laden and put on its terrorist list five associates of the Haqqani network branded as a "veritable arm" of the Pakistani spy agency, the ISI.
"The fact of the matter is we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, and one of the problems we`ve had, which is where this issue arises from, is with the safe havens that the Haqqani network has in Pakistan," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters here on Thursday. The Haqqani network is a militant group that operates on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
"That`s an issue that we raised with our Pakistani counterparts, and we continue to have those discussions on a regular basis about the broad range of areas where we have shared interests and cooperation," he said.
Asked what discussions were going on with the Pakistanis about military action that might go beyond drones, Carney said: "Certainly, we take action against the enemies of the United States -- members of al Qaeda -- where we find them. And as you know, in the case of Osama bin Laden, that happened to be in Pakistan."
"The relationship that we have with Pakistan is complicated but very important," he said when asked if ties with Islamabad were close to a point of no return over recent spats.
"They have been important allies, the Pakistanis have been, in our fight against al Qaeda, and that fight continues. And we expect to have continued cooperation with the Pakistanis on that."
"There`s no question that we have disagreements, complications in our relationship, and we speak openly and candidly with our Pakistani counterparts about this," Carney said.
"But we certainly believe that the relationship is important enough, that the kind of cooperation we get is essential to our national security and we need to continue it, precisely so we can most effectively take the fight to al Qaeda and succeed in that region," he said.
The US put on its terrorist list five associates of the Haqqani network, a terror group it says has got support from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
Announcing the sanctions on Thursday on the five people allegedly linked to insurgency along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the US Treasury Department accused them of collaborating with "the most dangerous terrorist organisations operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan".
"These financiers and facilitators provide the fuel for the Taliban, Haqqani network and al Qaeda to realise their violent aspirations," Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.
US companies and individuals cannot engage in transactions with the five individuals named in the sanctions.
Among those targeted was Abdul Aziz Abbasin, whom the Treasury Department described as a "key commander" for the Haqqani network.
"Abbasin commands a group of Taliban fighters and has assisted in running a training camp for foreign fighters in Paktika province, and also has been involved in ambushing supply vehicles of Afghan government forces and the transport of weapons to Afghanistan," the Treasury Department said.
Also blacklisted were Hajji Faizullah Khan Noorzai, Hajji Malik Noorzai and Abdur Rehman accused of providing financial and material support to the Taliban, and Fazal Rahim, alleged financial facilitator for al Qaeda as well as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that the Haqqani network is a "veritable arm" of the ISI and was involved in a September truck bombing in Wardak province that wounded 77 NATO troops and killed five Afghans.