Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said U.S. policy on Afghanistan shows a “confusion and policy disarray” and the nations need to coordinate action to combat terrorism.
Recent attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, including on the U.S. embassy were “disquieting” and Pakistan condemns such incidents, Gilani said in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on Sept. 24.
“There is concern over the deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan,” Gilani said. “There is the need for close policy coordination” between the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan.
U.S. and Afghan officials say the Haqqani group based in Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, backed by Pakistan’s main military intelligence agency, carried out high-profile attacks in Kabul, including a Sept. 13 assault that hit the U.S. embassy with rocket-propelled grenades.
“We strongly reject assertions of complicity with the Haqqanis or of proxy war,” Gilani said in his statement. The “blame-game is self-defeating.”
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Haqqani network operatives, with support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, “planned and conducted” the embassy assault.
‘Lose an Ally’
Pakistan condemns the allegations of links between the Haqqani group and Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, said on Sept. 23.
“This is not in the spirit of partnership,” Khar told the GEO television channel. “We have seriously conveyed to them that you could lose an ally. You can’t afford to alienate Pakistani people.”
Pakistan’s national interests will guide policy, Gilani said in his statement. The country’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism are “unquestionable,” he added.
Pakistan has emphasized the need for deeper engagement in its talks with the U.S., the prime minister said.
“This can only take place on the basis of mutual respect,” Gilani said. “Let’s avoid mutual recrimination and recommit ourselves to working together for eliminating terrorism and for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan.”
Burhanuddin Rabbani, chairman of the Afghan government’s High Peace Council, was assassinated on Sept. 20 in Kabul. The killing came after secret contacts between the council and the Quetta Shura, the main leadership committee of the Taliban, Rahmatullah Wahidyar, a council member who instigated talks, said on Sept. 23.
Wahidyar’s accusing of the Quetta Shura shifted attention from the Haqqani group.
“Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the security of U.S., NATO, ISAF forces in Afghanistan,” Gilani said.
The 48-nation coalition led by the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is counting on improvements in security forces and governing capability to turn over lead responsibility to the Afghans by the end of 2014.
--With assistance from Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul. Editor: Paul Tighe, Jim McDonald
To contact the reporter on this story: Anurag Joshi in Mumbai at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at email@example.com