Pakistan Parties to Discuss US Pressure on Haqqanis

Posted September 29th, 2011 at 4:22 am (UTC-5)
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Leaders of Pakistan's rival political parties are meeting Thursday to discuss recent U.S. accusations of a link between Pakistan's government and an al-Qaida-linked militant group.

The talks come as U.S. Secretary of States Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is conducting a final review on whether to designate the Haqqani network a terrorist organization.

The meeting, organized by Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, will be attended by 58 leaders of political, religious and nationalist parties, as well as Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Last week, U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the Haqqani Network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan's military intelligence agency, the ISI. Pakistan has denied the claim.

In testimony to a senate committee, Mullen blamed the militant group for attacks on U.S. targets in Afghanistan leading to fears that the U.S. would deploy troops to the border area where the militants are based.

The White House on Wednesday refused to endorse Admiral Mullen's statements, instead stressing the importance of Pakistan's help in the fight against terrorism.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said although the Mullen's comment is consistent with the Obama administration's position, he would put it differently.