USAs forsvarssjef admiral Mike Mullen har levert den alvorligste anklagen mot Pakistan så langt: Etterretningstjenesten ISI støtter Haqqani-nettverket, og bidro til angrepet på den amerikanske ambassaden i Kabul og en stor bilbombe som skadet amerikanske soldater.
Det er første gang en topp embetsmann kommer med konkrete opplysninger om at Pakistan aktivt bidrar til angrep som dreper amerikanere.
Mullen sa dette til en Senats-komite onsdag. Det er opplysninger som vil få konsekvenser. Pakistans aksjer står allerede på et lavmål i Kongressen.
“With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy,” Admiral Mullen told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We also have credible evidence that they were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations.”
In short, he said, “the Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.”
The truck bomb attack that Admiral Mullen referred to occurred at a NATO outpost south of Kabul on Sept. 10, when a cargo vehicle packed with explosives killed at least five people and wounded 77 coalition troops. The toll of wounded was one of the worst for foreign forces in a single episode in the 10-year-old war.
USA prioriterer å gjøre noe med Haqqani-nettverket, som holder til i Nord-Waziristan. Men Pakistans innenriksminister sa amerikanerne ikke vil få lov til å angripe mål i Nord-Waziristan, og amerikanske soldater er utelukket.
On Thursday the Pakistani Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, said his government would “not allow” an American operation aimed at the Haqqani network in North Waziristan.
Mr. Malik seemed to indicate that Obama administration officials had threatened Tuesday in their meetings in Washington with the head of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, that American troops were prepared to cross the border from Afghanistan into North Waziristan to attack the Haqqani militants.
“The Pakistan nation will not allow the boots on our ground, never,” Mr. Malik said in an interview with Reuters. “Our government is already cooperating with the U.S. — but they also must respect our sovereignty.”
In a meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday with the head of the F.B.I., Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Malik said that the Haqqani network was not present in Pakistan, a statement that American officials said they found disingenuous.
Mullens ord har vekt for han har hatt ansvar for kontakten med Pakistans militære de senere år.
Forholdet har forverret seg siden amerikanerne drepte Osama bin Laden uten å varsle Pakistan om angrepet.
“In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani Army and ISI, jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership but Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence,” he said. “They may believe that by using these proxies, they are hedging their bets or redressing what they feel is an imbalance in regional power. But in reality, they have already lost that bet.
“By exporting violence, they’ve eroded their internal security and their position in the region. They have undermined their international credibility and threatened their economic well-being.”
Mullen synes å antyde at Pakistan trapper opp spektakulære angrep for å skaffe seg fordeler før USA begynner nedtrappingen. Spørsmålet henger i luften: sto ISI og Pakistan også bak drapet på Burhanuddin Rabbani som ledet regjeringens forhandlingsutvalg overfor Taliban. Det ville virke logisk for Pakistan ønsker ingen fredsavtale.