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US linking ISI with Haqqani network 'very unfortunate': Kayani

September 23, 2011 22:28 IST

The war of words between Pakistan and the United States on the Inter-Services Intelligence's alleged links with the Haqqani terror network escalated on Friday with Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani describing US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen's accusations as "not based on facts".

In a statement issued by the military on Friday evening, the powerful army chief described Mullen's remarks as "as very unfortunate and not based on facts".

He added, "This is especially disturbing in view of a rather constructive meeting with Admiral Mullen in Spain." The Pakistani military had maintained a studied silence as several US officials linked the Inter-Services Intelligence agency to the Haqqani terror network and called on Islamabad to take action against the Taliban faction based in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Kayani responded a day after Mullen accused the ISI of supporting the Haqqani network in carrying out a string of deadly terror attacks, including an assault on the US Embassy in Kabul on September 13.

Mullen said the Taliban faction was a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's spy agency. The Pakistani military statement said: "On the specific question of contacts with the Haqqanis, (Kayani) said that

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

The statement did not name the other countries that are in contact with the Haqqani network.

Kayani categorically denied US accusations of "proxy war and ISI support to Haqqanis" and said the "blame game in public statements should give way to a constructive and meaningful engagement for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, an objective to which Pakistan is fully committed".

Rezaul H Laskar
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