Officials hit back at Admiral Mike Mullen’s comments linking country’s spy agency to the Haqqani group.
|Pakistani officials have denied the allegations made by the outgoing chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff|
The most senior US military officer has accused Pakistan’s spy agency of supporting the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in last week’s attack on the US Kabul embassy.
Admiral Mike Mullen, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, said the Haqqani group “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.”
Mullen added Pakistan is “exporting violence” and, as a result, has “eroded their internal security and their position in the region”.
“They have undermined their international credibility and threatened their economic well-being,” he said.
Mullen’s testimony will be the last, as he is due to retire next week. He will be succeeded by Army General Martin Dempsey, who was confirmed by the Senate last month.
Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler spoke with Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s foreign minister, to gauge her reaction to the claims made against the country’s spy agency.
Khar has warned that if the US continues to alienate Pakistan, it could risk losing an ally.
“It is something that goes very, very unappreciated on our side. This is unsubstantiated. No evidence has been shared with us,” Khar told Al Jazeera in remarks broadcast on Friday.
“I think we must not be tested more than we have the ability to bear“
– Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s foreign minister
“If we talk about links, I am sure the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) also has links with many terrorist organisations around the world, by which we mean intelligence links.
“And this particular network, which [the United States] continues to talk about, is a network which was the blue-eyed boy of the CIA itself for many years.
“I just hope that we’ll be given a chance to co-operate with eachother and the doors will remain open – because statements like this are pretty much close to shutting those doors.
“I think we must not be tested more than we have the ability to bear.”
Pakistan’s army chief also dismissed Mullen’s claims as mere allegations, saying they were “unfortunate” and “not based on facts”.
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said the US knows which countries are in contact with the Haqqanis, and that “singling out Pakistan is neither fair nor productive”.
Pakistan’s prime minister also responded to the US criticism by saying Washington was in a tight spot.
“They can’t live with us. They can’t live without us,” Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters on Friday in the southern city of Karachi. “So, I would say to them that if they can’t live without us, they should increase contacts with us to remove misunderstandings.”
It is the most serious allegation levelled by the US against Pakistan since they began an alliance in the “war on terror” a decade ago.