Pakistan Denies Haqqani Insurgents Use Its Territory as Base

September 1, 2015, Islamabad, Pakistan Pakistan on Monday denied that a key Afghan insurgent group was using it as a base, responding to statements by the U.S. national security adviser about the group’s links to Pakistan during a weekend visit to Islamabad.

Washington and Kabul believe the group, called the Haqqani network, is based in Pakistan and is behind a series of bombings in the Afghan capital in August. U.S. security officials also believe the group is responsible for many of the most deadly and complex attacks in Afghanistan over the past decade.

On Sunday, on a trip to Islamabad, Susan Rice the U.S. national security adviser, told Pakistani civilian and military leaders that the operations of the Haqqani network in Pakistan were “absolutely unacceptable,” according to a senior U.S. official.

The U.S. has warned Pakistan that it stands to lose $300 million in U.S. military assistance unless it takes action to disrupt the activities of the Haqqani network, which works closely with the Afghan Taliban.

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s foreign-policy chief and national security adviser, said Monday that 80% or 90% of the Haqqani network’s “capacity” is in Afghanistan.

Pakistan launched an operation in June last year to tackle security threats in North Waziristan, a part of Pakistan’s tribal areas that had served as a sanctuary for the Haqqani network and other militant groups, including al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.

“The infrastructure of the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, including [improvised explosive device] factories and a number of other capacities, including communications, has been disrupted. So what is left there may be very limited compared with the capacity they still have in Afghanistan,” Mr. Aziz said.

Pakistan will continue to battle remnants of the Haqqani network in Pakistan along with other militant groups, he said.

U.S. and Afghan officials believe the Haqqani network is supported by the Pakistani military, which uses it as its proxy in Afghanistan. Security officials suspect the leadership of the group and its foot soldiers have simply relocated from North Waziristan to other parts of Pakistan.

Pakistan denies these claims.

Washington has yet to decide whether to punish Pakistan financially for its alleged inaction over the Haqqani network. The issue looks likely to hang over the visit in October of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the White House.

Source- Wall Street Journal

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