What’s behind the U.S.-Pakistan rift - An Unverified Intelligence Assessment?
By David Ignatius, Washington Post,
Beyond the recent verbal confrontation between U.S. and Pakistani officials about the Haqqani network lies a delicate political-military effort to draw the Haqqanis into an end-game strategy for the war in Afghanistan.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rebuked the Pakistani spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, for using the Haqqani network as its “veritable arm” in Afghanistan. But U.S. officials know the ISI also facilitated a secret meeting during the last several months between the United States and a representative of the Haqqani clan. This is the double game that’s always operating in U.S.-Pakistani relations.
Some U.S. officials believe that the recent wave of attacks by the Haqqanis on U.S. targets in Afghanistan may, in fact, reflect the determination of hard-line members of the clan to derail any move toward negotiation. The United States wants the Pakistani military’s help in isolating and destroying these “unreconcilable” elements of the network.
The sparring with Pakistan illustrates the wider dilemma of the Afghan war. How does the United States bring pressure on the Haqqanis and other Taliban factions, even as it withdraws troops with a 2014 deadline for completing its mission? As Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, has said: “The more the U.S. says it wants to leave Afghanistan, the harder it will be to leave.”
What angered Mullen and other U.S. officials was Pakistan’s failure to act on intelligence reports about planned Haqqani attacks. A timeline helps untangle the threads of the dispute:
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