Pakistan says alleged Taliban ties are US 'negative propaganda'
Admiral Mike Mullen said Pakistan's intelligence agency has ties to a Taliban faction, sparking a new row in the troubled US-Pakistan relationship.
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The Pakistani Army slammed the US for "negative propaganda" on Thursday, a response to American accusations that Pakistan's intelligence agency still has ties to a Taliban faction operating in the country. The escalating incriminations coming from both sides indicate the immense pressure facing the US-Pakistan relationship, although both countries vow they are committed to maintaining ties.
That incident prompted last week's announcement that Pakistan expected the US to halt all drone attacks in the country and to cut the number of intelligence agents operating on the ground, including all of those operating without Pakistan's knowledge. The US has given no indication that it plans to acquiesce to Pakistan's demands.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen visited Pakistan this week to try to soothe the tensions between the two countries and meet with Pakistani military officials. Pakistan insists that the key problem is a lack of US trust in Pakistani counterterrorism efforts, as well as US drone attacks, which are highly unpopular among the Pakistani public. The US says that Pakistan is not doing enough to fight terrorism, an accusation Pakistan also disputes.
According to the Associated Press, Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said Thursday that "the Army's multiple offensives against insurgent groups in the northwest are evidence of Pakistan's 'national resolve to defeat terrorism'."
The comments from Admiral Mullen on Wednesday – that Pakistan's intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has ties to the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taliban faction based in North Waziristan, according to the AP – are likely to only exacerbate the perception among ISI that the US does not trust the agency. The Haqqani network, one of the most deadly obstacles to US and NATO operations in Afghanistan, launches attacks on foreign troops from its Waziristan bases.