During a visit designed (at least on the surface) to improve the crumbling US-Pakistan relationship, Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, broached a sore subject in Islamabad (and more importantly, Rawalpindi, the real seat of power): Pakistan’s support for the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network. [Note the original quote and format below was from Dawn, but the link is no longer valid, see here for a version:
“It’s fairly well known that the ISI has a longstanding relationship with the Haqqani network,” he said in an interview with Pakistan’s daily Dawn newspaper.
“Haqqani is supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners. And I have a sacred obligation to do all I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“So that’s at the core – it’s not the only thing — but that’s at the core that I think is the most difficult part of the relationship,” Mullen said.
Now, Admiral Mullen chose his words carefully, claiming Pakistan maintains a “relationship” with the Haqqani Network; he stopped short of saying Pakistan actively supports the Haqqanis.
Pakistani officials of course denied supporting the Haqqani Network, and claim they haven’t taken on the Haqqani Network due to the focus on the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. This of course is untrue, and Admiral Mullen of course knows that. Despite his “sacred obligation” to stop US soldiers dying at the hands of Pakistan-backed terror groups, Admiral Mullen cannot bring himself to call Pakistan to account for its actions. And as a result, more US soldiers will die as the dysfunctional “alliance” between the two nations is nursed along.