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'Haqqani network is too strong for Pak to take on'

September 24, 2011 01:32 IST

The already tense relations between the United States and Pakistan further deteriorated when Admiral Mike Mullen on Thursday accused the Inter-Services Intelligence agency for supporting the Haqqani network in planning and executing an assault on the US embassy in Afghanistan.

Reacting to Admiral Michael Mullen statement Pakistan Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that the allegations regarding links with the Haqqani network is against facts.

"Admiral Mullen knows fully well which all countries are in contact with the Haqqanis. Singling out Pakistan is neither fair nor productive", Kayani added.

The Pakistani army chief's remark shows that Pakistan relation with Haqqani network are an effort to bring the group for peace process, as everyone agrees that peace deal would be final option to restore peace in Afghanistan.

The US is pressuring Pakistan since long to take on the Haqqani network which is said to be operated from North Waziristan and carries out attacks on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces across the border in Afghanistan.

The network is run by Sirajuddin Haqqani with around 15,000 well-trained fighters. No doubt some elements of the network would be present in Pakistani tribal areas but it is also very strong in Khost, Paktika and Paktia and would even have influence in Kabul and its surrounding areas.

According to Rahimullah Yousafzai, an expert on Taliban and Afghan affairs, the Haqqani network is so strong that it is not possible for Pakistani forces to take action against it.

He told, "An operation against the network is not possible for Pakistan as the group is very dangerous and its reaction could be disastrous."

"At this stage, action against the Sirajuddin Haqqani's men would help the different militant groups to fight as a single unit against Pakistan's security forces," he added.

"Pakistan should request the network to move to Afghanistan which I see the only solution to the problem," Rahimullah said.

Talking to, Dr Aisha Siddiqa, a defense analyst said that majority of Pakistanis want an end to Pakistan's connection with all Taliban factions whether they are bad or good, but it is not possible due to 'certain' policies.

"No doubt Pakistan is under tremendous pressure, but it would never end its ties with the Haqqani network, as Islamabad would use this card after the NATO troops leave Afghanistan."

Security analyst and former Pakistani military General Talat Masood who knows the Haqqani network from the time of its formation to the current position believes that Haqqanis always attracted Islamabad's attention due to its potential.

"Michael Mullen is wrongly calling Haqqani network as an extension of Pakistani ISI. It is Pakistan's approach towards the group that has harmed its relations with the US", Masood told

He added, "The Pakistan government has adopted a policy where it cannot go against each and every group of militants due to some priorities. Pakistan thinks that when the US troops leave Afghanistan, Islamabad would interact through such groups."

Tahir Ali in Islamabad