Act against Haqqani network or lose aid, Pak told

Last Updated: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 14:44

Washington: US lawmakers have introduced a legislation in the Congress to divert American aid meant for
Pakistan to the Mexican border until Islamabad takes concrete
and satisfactory action against Haqqani terrorist network.

Fearing that some of the aid running into billions of
dollars could end up in the hands of the Haqqani network, the
lawmakers voiced concern as the dreaded terror group is
believed to be behind suicide attacks in Afghanistan
responsible for hundreds of American deaths.

The legislation introduced by Congressman Michael McCaul,
and co-sponsored among others by the Foreign Affairs Committee
Chairwoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, would require the Secretary
of State to certify to Congress that Pakistan is not aiding,
assisting, advising or informing the Haqqani terrorist network
in any way.

Otherwise US aid to Pakistan will be cut off and
redirected toward fighting Mexican drug cartel violence on
US-Mexican border, the legislation says.

In a statement, McCaul said this year the State
Department is requesting USD 2.4 billion in civilian and
security assistance to Pakistan, some of which could end up in
the hands of the Haqqani network.

But, the legislation does not seek to touch Defence and
intelligence aid.

"When I met with (Pak) President (Asif Ali) Zardari
he expressed a commitment to eradicating the Haqqani terrorist
network, but I am not convinced that he has enough control
over his military and intelligence to follow through," said
McCaul, who led a Homeland Security Committee delegation to
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq in November.

"I tried to make it clear to him that foreign aid from
the US is in jeopardy. In my view it is an absurd foreign
policy to indirectly fund a terrorist network that has killed
Americans and continues to plot against us," McCaul said.
During a Congressional hearing on Wednesday Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton had acknowledged links between elements
of Pak establishment and terrorists.

"There is no doubt in my mind that certain elements
of the Pakistani government are more ambivalent about cracking
down on terrorism than other elements," Clinton said.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee
in September, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike
Mullen stated that the Haqqani network is operating with
Pakistan`s support.

Mullen said there is credible evidence that an
attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in June 2011, a
suicide bombing targeting US troops in the Wardack Province in
September 2011, and an attack on the US Embassy in Kabul in
September 2011, were conducted by the Haqqani network with the
help of the Pakistani government, which also provides safe
havens to the Haqqanis.

Under Congressman McCaul`s legislation, short of the
Secretary of State`s certification that Pakistan is not
working with the Haqqanis, foreign aid to that country would
be made available to fight the war against Mexican drug
cartels along the southwest border.

"This war has been raging for years and we don`t
have a strategy, nor have we committed the resources to combat
it," he said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 14:42

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