The Haqqani network acts as a virtual arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency,” Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said the agency was implementing Pakistani government policy in its support of the group, which has also been blamed for numerous other deadly attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Speaking in unusually blunt terms, Admiral Mike Mullen accused Pakistan’s powerful ISI intelligence service of backing the Haqqani insurgent network blamed for attacks including last week’s audacious assault on the US embassy in Kabul.
Describing the Haqqani network as a “veritable arm” of the ISI, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs also accused Pakistan of using violent extremism as an instrument of policy and signalled that the US was running out of patience with its South Asian ally.
Video: Pakistan accused of supporting Afghan terrorists
Audio: US Military chief blasts ISI
Adm Mike Mullen’s address
The following are extracts of the address by outgoing chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm Mike Mullen to a US Senate panel in Washington, in which he accuses Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, of close ties with the Haqqani network and of being behind an attack on the US embassy in Kabul on 13 September. He said that the ISI knew of and supported other attacks in Afghanistan.
The sections have been edited and do not necessarily follow the order of delivery.
PHOTO: Haqqani network founder and former Afghan guerilla leader Jalaluddin Haqqani 1998 Syed Haider Shah: AFP
“The Haqqani Network […] acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.
With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy. We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the 28 June attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations.
In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan – and most especially the Pakistani Army and ISI – jeopardises not only the prospect of our strategic partnership, but also Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence.
They may believe that by using these proxies they are hedging their bets, or redressing what they feel is an imbalance of regional power. But in reality they have already lost that bet.”
THE CHANGING TALIBAN
“As we have advanced, the Taliban have adapted.
More than ever before, they are concentrating their efforts on attacks that will produce a maximal psychological impact for a minimal investment in manpower or military capability.
The recent truck bomb at a Wardak outpost falls into this category, as do the attacks last week in Kabul – including the one on our embassy – and the assassination Tuesday of former Afghan President Rabbani.
These acts of violence are as much about headlines and playing on the fears of a traumatised people, as they are about inflicting casualties – maybe even more so.”
CORRUPTION AND THE RULE OF LAW
“Corruption makes a mockery of the rule of law. It delegitimises the very governing institutions to which we will be transitioning authority. And it sends an aggrieved populace further into the waiting arms of the Taliban.
If we continue to draw down forces apace while such public and systemic corruption is left unchecked, I believe we risk leaving behind a government in which we cannot reasonably expect Afghans to have faith.
At best this would lead to localised conflicts inside the country; at worst it could lead to government collapse and civil war.”
US RELATIONSHIP WITH PAKISTAN
“I believe that a flawed and difficult relationship is better than no relationship at all.
Some may argue I have wasted my time, that Pakistan is no closer to us than before, and may now have drifted even further away. I disagree. Military cooperation is warming. Information flow between us and across the border is quickening. Transparency is returning, slowly.
With Pakistan’s help we have disrupted al-Qaeda and its senior leadership in the border regions and degraded its ability to plan and conduct terror attacks.
Indeed, I think we would be in a far tougher situation today, in the wake of the frostiness which fell over us after the Bin Laden raid, were it not for the groundwork General Kayani and I had laid – were it not for the fact that we could at least have a conversation about the way ahead, however difficult that conversation might be.”