US State Secretary Warns Pakistan To Take Action Against Haqqani
United States State Secretary Hillary Clinton on Friday announced that her country has already had a first round of negotiations with the Haqqani network, the group of militants Washington blames for the attack on the US embassy in Kabul in September. The announcement comes a day after the US State Secretary warned that the Afghan and Pakistani insurgents that do not wish to cooperate to make Afghanistan a peaceful and secured land will suffer consequences as tough measures would be taken against them.
At a roundtable with journalists, Clinton said that the US has contacted the Taliban and the Haqqani in order to test their sincerity and their commitment to peace, and that now there are things to be cleared between the three allies, the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan. She added that no negotiation was under way.
A senior US official specified that the connection with the Haqqani was established in the summer before the September attack on the US embassy. The meeting is said to have been organized by the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, the powerful spy agency of the Pakistanis, which the United States has accused of cooperation with Haqqani in bombing the embassy of the United States in Kabul.
In spite of the differences with the Pakistanis, the United States believes that Pakistan is a key player in the stability of Afghanistan after the NATO coalition troops are pulled out, which should happen until 2014.
The United States State Secretary, CIA director David Petraeus, former leader of the NATO coalition in Afghanistan, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Islamabad in a bid to ask Pakistan, formally still an ally in the war against terror, to take more serious action against militant groups operating on Pakistani territory.
In a previous conference with the Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Clinton said that they had a in-depth conversation with specifics, and that she was looking forward to see it operationalized in days or weeks at most. She emphasized in days and weeks, not in months and years, alluding to other agreements between the two sides, which never came to pass.
On Friday, Clinton warned that unless the Pakistani havens of the militants are dealt with the consequences would be dire for both the US and Pakistan. Her discussion with her Pakistani counterparts has been deemed as “extremely frank.”
The United States has pressed the authorities in Islamabad for a long time to address the problems of the havens of the militants on its territory. Now, Clinton did not tell the press what exactly did she ask the Pakistani to do with the Haqqanis on their soil, only that they must persuade them toward negotiation process.
She expressed hope that for a lot of reasons Pakistan had the means to “encourage, push and squeeze” the Haqqanis and the Taliban to engage in the peace process.
Pakistani replies that it cannot go after the Haqqani because it has to deal with the terrorists back home, and besides analysts consider that the army would suffer great loses if it were to actually engage them.
Clinton was frank about it and told the Pakistani they could not “snakes in the backyard and expect them to bite only your neighbors.”
Reuters reports that Clinton had a discussion with a woman in a town hall meeting and that the Pakistani woman said that the public perception of the United States amid the Pakistanis is that of a “mother-in-law.” To that Clinton replied that once a mother-in-law always a mother-in-law, but that even mother-in-laws can change and learn new ways.
About a hundred people staged a protest against Clinton’s visit in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. They burnt American flags and shouted slogans against the United States.
Pakistani officials have walked a fine line for the last ten years trying to be the allies of the Americans in the war against terror in such a way that would spare the feelings of the population in the country, which is more inclined to side with their Afghan neighbors than with the United States.
Last year, the WikiLeaks cables have revealed that some Pakistani officials had connections with the Taliban and other militants. The scandal made the president of the country tour the Western countries in order to convince them of the good intentions of his country.
The scandal escalated in May this year, when the US army has been able to locate and execute Osama bin Laden, the number one enemy of the United States. Bin Laden was killed in a town in Pakistan, where he was staying in a building near the security services headquarters.
Pakistani judicial system accused a doctor of having cooperated with the United States Army in capturing bin Laden by collecting a blood sample of Laden’s family. The doctor pretended to conduct a vaccination program in the city, and took a blood sample from the family of the number one terrorist of the world. On that basis, the US Army was capable to locate bin Laden and kill him.
As a result of all this, the United States administration decided to cut off the funding for the Pakistani army, prompting the Pakistanis to say that they would pull the troops out of the border zones, thus leaving the troops at the mercy of the insurgents.
The last straw was in late September when the Americans accused the Pakistani foreign intelligence of having worked with the Haqqani network in the bombing of the US embassy in Kabul.
Soon after this accusation was made by the United States, Pakistan turned to China for help, sending them a message by that. Pakistan told the Chinese that they would help them with the Uyghur terrorists that are being trained in Pakistani camps and commit acts in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai made his own move by signing a set of arrangements with the authorities of India.11