Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik has contended that the U.S. should share the blame for the rise of the Haqqani network as the CIA created the Taliban faction during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and trained its members.
“The Haqqani network was trained and produced by the CIA,” he said. The group did not originate in Pakistan and the U.S. should not now speak about “things which happened 20 years ago”, he told reporters during an interaction here on Sunday.
However, he acknowledged that Pakistan had helped the CIA during the war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The Haqqani network is now present in Afghanistan and “those claiming otherwise should give evidence of its presence in Pakistan,” Mr. Malik claimed. “We will fight the terrorists as our forces are capable of handling them and countering any challenge,” he said.
Mr. Malik was responding to accusations by top American officials that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence had supported the Haqqani network for carrying out a string of attacks, including one on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
He said Pakistan had never blamed the CIA or Afghanistan directly for several attacks in Mohmand tribal region or other areas. “The nefarious designs of external elements will be foiled,” he said. Mr. Malik called for a strong immigration system at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The government is determined to eliminate terrorism, he said. “Any aggression from outside or mischievous activity from inside will not be tolerated. The sovereignty of Pakistan will never be compromised and everyone will stand with the Pakistan Army and law enforcement agencies to counter any challenge,” he added.