Asking Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ISI to severe ties with terrorist organisations, in particular the “Haqqani network”, top U.S. military commander Admiral Mike Mullen has said America was prepared to take all appropriate measures to protect its people in the region.
“The ISI has been doing this —— working for —— supporting proxies for an extended period of time. It is a strategy in the country and I think that strategic approach has to shift in the future,” Mr. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in response to a question at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington—based think tank.
“It’s my own view, it’s going in the wrong direction in addition to those that they they’re proxy issues associated with Haqqani and others. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Haqqani was behind the attack on the American embassy the other day. Haqqani was behind the truck bomb attack which injured 77 US soldiers, killed five Afghans.
“The Taliban have an atrocious record for killing Afghan citizens. And that should never be lost. So we’re very focused on that. The Haqqani piece of this has got to be reversed,” he said.
Mr. Mullen said US is prepared to “take appropriate action to protect our men and women, first of all, in the fight and certainly to protect the Afghan citizens who have been devastated by this network as well“.
He, however, refrained from going into any specifics on this issue.
“I would say that broadly but I would never go into the specifics of what that would be, as much as you would like me to do that,” he said.
Mr. Mullen refuted reports that lack of helicopters prevented Pakistan from taking action against terrorists in North Waziristan.
“I don’t think there’s direct link between improving their helicopter fleet and the decision that I think the ISI has to make to strategically disengage.
“Over the course of the —— certainly the time I’ve been chairman, I don’t know what the exact number is —— but there’s a large amount of equipment that has been delivered to the Pakistani military,” Mr. Mullen said.