Pakistan Officials Blast Mullen’s Remarks

Posted September 24th, 2011 at 12:15 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani officials say the United States risks losing an ally if Washington continues accusing Islamabad of supporting al-Qaida linked militants who attack U.S. targets inside Afghanistan.

Several Pakistani leaders blasted the United States Friday for comments made by the top U.S. military commander, Admiral Mike Mullen.

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman told a Senate hearing Thursday the Haqqani network, acting with support from Pakistan's intelligence agency, or ISI, planned and conducted last week's assault on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Mullen said the militant group is a “veritable arm” of the ISI.

He said the Haqqani network is also responsible for the September 10 car bombing of a NATO base in central Afghanistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Friday the U.S. cannot afford to lose Pakistan as an ally, saying “they can't live with us [and] they can't live without us.”

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said if the U.S. chooses to push Pakistan away, it will do so at its own cost.

And the country's army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, described Mullen's comments as a “blame game.” Kayani denied accusations Pakistan is supporting the Haqqanis or conducting a proxy war in Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday it is critical Pakistan “break any links” with the Haqqani network. He urged Islamabad to take immediate action against the militant group to ensure it is no longer a threat to the American or Pakistani people.

Also Friday, intelligence officials in Pakistan said a suspected U.S. drone strike killed at least three militants in a house in the North Waziristan tribal region, where the Haqqanis are based.