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US Asks Pak To Eliminate Haqqani Network

PTI 01 Aug 2011, 19:35:17 IST

New York, Aug 1: US has warned Pakistan that unless it moved to eliminate terror groups like the Afghan Haqqani network, it could affect relations between Washington and Islamabad.

The warning came from top US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen who said US is fast losing patience with the pace of Pakistan's security forces to cleanse the border area with Afghanistan of al-Qaeda and other militant groups.

“It has to be addressed,” Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told troops during his two-day farewell visit to forward post in Afghanistan.

“The leadership in Pakistan understands that,” Mullen said as he described the region between Afghanistan and Pakistan as still the world's most dangerous area. Calling it as the “epicenter of terrorism”, Mullen in an interview to BBC called on Pakistan to end “safe havens” there.

Admiral Mullen said that despite the death of al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin laden, “plenty of bin-Laden acolytes were still plotting operations beyond the region”. He said unless Islamabad moved against terrorists like Afghan-Haqqani network, it could affect relations between US and Pakistan, while admitting that ties between the two close allies were still strained in the wake of secret US raid that killed bin Laden.

The top US commander said that the strategy of using proxies to foment violence had to change, “If instability worsens, it would be a real challenge for everyone.”

During his farewell visit, the US commander was told that American and allied forces were strengthening a layered defence along the border with Pakistan to seize Haqqani network militant as they tried to make their way to Kabul to Carry a spectacular attack.

BBC reported that Mullen faced probe by commander whether Pakistan is unable or unwilling to eliminate safe havens within its borders used by the Haqqani network.

Despite a wave of suicide attacks, US and NATO commando assured Mullen that operations were continuing to push insurgents into retreat. PTI