The Pentagon on Tuesday said it had shared with Pakistan in recent years the indications of Islamabad's "complicity" with extremist groups, renewing top United States commander Admiral Mike Mullen's allegations that Inter-Services Intelligence was conniving with the Haqqani network in Afghanistan.
Captain John Kirby, spokesperson of Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told Pentagon reporters during an off-camera briefing that information had been shared with Pakistan over the years on how the "complicity continues to exist". Mullen's recent comments that the ISI was using terror groups like the Haqqani network as a "veritable arm" to wage a proxy war in Afghanistan have fuelled outrage in Pakistan.
Islamabad has struck back, warning the US that it might lose an ally, while also contending that the Haqqani group was CIA's "blue-eyed boy" for many years. US-Pak ties have nosedived ever since Osama bin Laden was killed by US troops in a special secret operation in Abbottabad, and Mullen's recent comments have only further strained the relations as the two sides exchange heated words.
"Over the course of the last few years we have shared with the Pakistani leaders the indications that we have about this sort of complicity (with extremist organisations) in the region, including the Haqqani network," Kirby said. "I am not going to get into now the specifics of all that. But that information has been shared with Pakistan," Kirby said. He added that Mullen and the Pentagon stands by everything the admiral said at a Congressional briefing last week in which he alleged that the ISI of Pakistan provides supports to the Haqqani network.
"We provided in the past examples of how we know this complicity continues to exist," Kirby said.
Pentagon spokesperson, George Little, asserted that the United States wants to maintain its relationship with Pakistan grounded in common interest which include going after terrorists that threaten the two countries. "There are differences with Pakistan in the relationship from time to time as there is any partnership and those differences have been made public. We continue to discuss those differences in private," Little said.
"We look forward to working with Pakistanis to try to resolve them and it is important that both sides continue the dialogue and that is happening," the Pentagon spokesman said. He said there has been contact between the US military and that of Pakistan, but the Secretary of Defence, to his knowledge has not spoken to any Pakistani officials.