`Haqqani network receives protection from ISI`

The Haqqani network receives protection and support from the Pakistani spy agency ISI, an influential think-tank has told US lawmakers.

Updated: Sep 20, 2011, 11:10 AM IST

Washington: The Haqqani network, which is
blamed for the recent attack on American embassy in Kabul,
receives protection and support from the Pakistani spy agency
ISI, an influential think-tank has told US lawmakers.

"They receive protection and support from facets of
Pakistan`s intelligence agency ISI, which continues to drag
its feet on taking action against the Haqqanis because they
see the network as a useful proxy to expand their influence
and establish footholds in Afghanistan," said Frank J Cilluffo, Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute
at the George Washington University.
"Because the Haqqani network is seen by parts of
Pakistan`s government as a valuable ally, the government has
refused to take action in the tribal regions of Waziristan
which creates safe havens, not only for the Haqqanis but for
al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, with which the Haqqanis
are intimately involved," Cilluffo told lawmakers at a
Congressional hearing last week.

Noting that the network poses a significant threat to US
and India, he observed that "strangely, and inadvisably" it
has not been designated a foreign terrorist group.

It is believed that the group is a powerful insurgent
force in Afghanistan, one that targets coalition forces as
well as Indian investments and interests in the country, he
Siraj Haqqani, the son of the famous anti-Soviet fighter
Jalaluddin Haqqani, is the current leader of the network. The
group originated in the 1970s and has formed significant ties
with al-Qaeda and Taliban in the years since its inception.

Today, it is operationally based in North Waziristan, the
remote border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Cilluffo said Lashkar-e-Taiba too receives support from
the Pakistani establishment.

"Before the United States can take actions to assume a
lighter footprint (especially in Afghanistan), it is paramount
that we hold Pakistan accountable to take action against the
extremist forces festering under their watch," he said.

"The litmus test here is whether Pakistan will sever its
historic ties to its proxies, namely LeT in India and the
Haqqani Network in Afghanistan. While we acknowledge the fact
that there are some factions in Pakistan that will never cut
these ties, we must also realize that some in Pakistan
recognize the threat these groups pose," he said.

"Those individuals are motivated to cooperate with the
US, and we should continue to do all we reasonably can to
encourage and support their efforts. This is not only in the
best interests of the US and India, but also of Pakistan,"
Cilluffo added.