Mullen 'stands by every word' of his testimony

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GMT - 3 Hours Mullen 'stands by every word' of his testimony

Post by εﺓз• » ιη∂αġι яσ¢χ « • on Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:32 am

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WASHINGTON: Repeating the thrust of his controversial earlier criticism, retiring Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told in an interview on Wednesday that elements in Pakistan's spy service are "very active" with the Haqqani network launching attacks on US forces in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the White House on Wednesday distanced itself from Mullen's statement to Congress last week that the Haqqani network acted as a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

Mullen's spokesman, Capt. John Kirby, told that Mullen "stands by every word" of his congressional testimony.

Mullen repeated that a link exists but referred to elements in the spy network as opposed to some kind of formal structure.

"There are elements I think of the ISI very active with Haqqani," Mullen said, adding that "the piece" of the ISI "that is so focused on sending Taliban and insurgents into Afghanistan" from safe havens in Pakistan must be addressed by both the United States and Pakistan's government and military.

Last week, Mullen's blunt accusation was interpreted as an expression of the growing impatience of US officials with Pakistan's unwillingness to stop the attacks, and the belief that elements in the Pakistani government are actively supporting the insurgents.

The attacks, including a recent attempt to strike at the NATO headquarters and the US Embassy in Kabul and last week's assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading efforts for reconciliation talks, have raised questions about the ability of Afghan security forces to maintain control.

Mullen, appearing last Thursday for the last time before the Senate Armed Services Committee before his retirement, said Pakistan was "exporting" violence to Afghanistan.

"The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's intelligence," Mullen said then.

In his interview, Mullen said "the strategic intent here is to focus on this like a laser, because it's been there for a long time and unless the Pakistani leaders take action, it will continue to be there and that support will continue to be there."

Also Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to joint US-Pakistani efforts to halt Haqqani network attacks in Afghanistan.
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