Washington: Asserting that working on terror
problem posed by the Haqqani network was the primary job of
the US-Pak relations, an Obama administration official said
any terrorist group will have to renounce violence to join the
Afghanistan-led reconciliation process.
"I will say to you again what we have been saying for
some two weeks very firmly with regard to the Haqqani network:
Job one in our relationship with Pakistan is for us to work on
the terror and the problem that they are posing to Pakistan,
to the US, to Afghanistan," State Department spokesperson,
Victoria Nuland told reporters.
Nuland was responding to questions about latest reports
about the US` recent meeting, set up by the ISI, with Haqqani
network and its leader Sirajuddin Haqqani who said that the US
had approached him about joining the Afghan government.
"The only other thing I would say here is it`s patently
ridiculous to think that the American government would be
dictating to any other government who should or shouldn`t join
its ranks," she said.
"The US is not in the business of dictating to other
governments who should and should not be a member of their
ranks," she noted.
Nuland said there has not been any change in the US
position on reconciliation.
"We support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation. So
our efforts are in support of what the Afghans are up to. But
we insist, as do the Afghans, that anybody who is reconciled
or who is pursuing reconciliation has to renounce violence,"
"They have to abandon their ties -- cut their ties with
al-Qaeda. They have to abide by the laws and the constitution
of Afghanistan, including respecting the rights of women and
ethnic minorities," Nuland said.
"These are the Afghans` criteria. These are our criteria.
But I am not going to comment on any specific conversations
that are going on under that umbrella. But those are the
criteria that we require, and the Afghans require," she said.
She said that Special US Representative for Afghanistan
and Pakistan Marc Grossman was scheduled to arrive in
Islamabad and Kabul later this week.
In Kabul, the US Envoy would meet Afghanistan President
Hamid Karzai, and among other things he would discuss Karzai`s
recent statement on suspending the reconciliation talks with