Tuesday Sep 27, 201111:35 AM GMT
Pakistan: Haqqani network, CIA agents
Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:52AM
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Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon (L) are seen during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Monday, Sept. 19, 2011.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar has denied US accusations against the Pakistani intelligence agency, saying that the Haqqani network was once the “blue-eyed boy” of the CIA.

“If we talk about links, I am sure the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) also has links with many terrorist organizations around the world, by which we mean intelligence links,” Khar said in an interview with Al Jazeera news channel on Monday.

The Pakistani foreign minister, who leads Islamabad's delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York, pointed to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani group and added that “this particular network, which the United States continues to talk about, is a network which was the blue-eyed boy of the CIA itself for many years.”

The remarks come as the outgoing US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen claimed on Thursday that Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was supporting the Taliban-allied Haqqani network of militants, which has been blamed for a recent assault on the US embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

"The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency," Mullen asserted in a recent testimony to the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

“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,'' he claimed.

Responding to Mullen, Khar noted that "it is something that goes very, very unappreciated on our side,” adding, "This is unsubstantiated. No evidence has been shared with us."

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 contributing to the souring bilateral ties have been the unauthorized US drone attacks on Pakistani soil, which Islamabad regards as violation of its sovereignty. Many Pakistani civilians have fallen victim to US drone attacks in the country.

Despite the continuing US allegations against Islamabad, the security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan has severely deteriorated ever since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan under the pretext of a 'war on terror,' with steadily growing terror attacks in both countries, leading to mostly civilian casualties.

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