US senator threatens Pakistan with war
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham
A high-profile American senator has said that the United States should consider military action against Pakistan if Islamabad continues to sponsor militant attacks against US troops in Afghanistan.
“The sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States and our ally Afghanistan that must cease,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
"They're killing American soldiers," he noted, adding, "If they continue to embrace terrorism as a part of their national strategy, we're going to have to put all options on the table, including defending our troops."
Graham warned that Pakistan should choose between supporting the Haqqani militant network and helping the US fight al-Qaeda.
The remarks come as the outgoing US Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said on Thursday that Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was supporting the Taliban-allied Haqqani network of militants, blamed for a recent assault on the US embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
“In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani Army and the ISI, jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership but Pakistan's opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence,'' Mullen claimed.
Graham also urged Washington to reconsider its financial assistance to Islamabad.
Washington has frequently blamed Pakistan for not doing enough to fight terrorism in its troubled northwestern tribal belt, which runs along the Afghan border.
Also souring bilateral ties have been the US unauthorized drone attacks on the Pakistani soil, which Islamabad regards as violation of its sovereignty. Many Pakistani civilians have fallen victim to US drone attacks in the country.
The security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan has severely deteriorated since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan under the pretext of 'war on terror' with steadily growing terror attacks in both countries.