U.S. blame game ‘self-defeating’: Pakistani PM
The Pakistani Prime Minister Saturday rejected US allegations linking Islamabad with the Haqqani terror network, saying the “blame game is self-defeating”.
Yousuf Raza Gilani said such accusations would only benefit the militants, and added that they showed US policy in Afghanistan was in “disarray”.
“We strongly reject assertions of complicity with the Haqqanis or of proxy war,” he said in a policy statement issued by his office amid a growing rift with the United States.
“Blame game is self-defeating… It will only benefit the enemies of peace. Only terrorists and militants will gain from any fissures and divisions.”
The White House demanded Friday that Pakistan “break any link they have” with the Haqqanis, the Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban faction blamed for the recent attack on the US embassy in Kabul.
A day earlier top US military officer Admiral Mike Mullen directly accused Pakistan’s intelligence service of supporting the network’s attack on the embassy and a truck bombing on a NATO outpost.
“The allegations betray a confusion and policy disarray within the US establishment on the way forward in Afghanistan,” Gilani said.
The Pakistani premier said his country was not responsible for the security of foreign troops inside Afghanistan and it was itself a victim of terrorist attacks launched from Afghan soil.
“While there have been terrorist attacks in Kabul and Wardak, there have also been numerous attacks on Pakistan launched from sanctuaries and safe havens in Nooristan and Kunar in Afghanistan,” he said
“It is as much the responsibility of the Afghan National Army, NATO and ISAF not to allow such cross-border militancy.”
He stressed the need for joint operations and coordination, adding: “Let?s be objective and not get carried away by emotions.”
At the same time, he said there was concern over the deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan and called the recent attacks in Kabul “disquieting”.
“We condemn these attacks,” he said.
Insurgents besieged the US embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul with rocket and gunfire for 19 hours earlier this month, leaving 15 people dead and turning the most secure district of the Afghan capital into a battle zone.
Gilani said given the sacrifices made by Pakistani security forces and citizens the “propaganda blitz against Pakistan is indeed most unfortunate”.
“It vitiates the atmosphere and is counter productive. It tends to ignore the sacrifices by the people of Pakistan and negates all that we have endeavoured to achieve over the last so many years,” he said.
More then 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed in the fight against terrorism and many more have been injured, Gilani said, adding that the US knew well about the arrest and killing of a large number of Al-Qaeda operatives by Pakistan.
Meanwhile, US Centcom chief General James Mattis Saturday held security talks with Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Kayani, officials said.
“Matters related to security were discussed,” a senior military official told AFP on condition of anonymity after Mattis-Kayani talks.
No other details were available, but Pakistani officials said the meeting would help diffuse the mounting tensions between the key allies.
Kayani late Friday said Mullen’s accusations were “very unfortunate and not based on facts”.
Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar also reacted angrily, saying the humiliating public attack was “not acceptable” and warned that Washington stood to lose a vital ally.