Pakistani general warns U.S. on Haqqani network

Story highlights

  • "Think 10 times over" before "attacking Pakistani soil," military chief warns U.S.
  • Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani briefs members of the Pakistani parliament, a senator says
  • Any decision to go after the Haqqani network will be Pakistan's alone, Kayani says
The United States needs to reconsider its approach to Pakistan, that nation's army chief said as he addressed members of the Pakistani parliament, according to a lawmaker who attended the briefing.
The United States should stop blaming Pakistan and focus on Afghanistan, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani said in the Tuesday session, according to Sen. Tariq Azim.
Kayani's comments apparently were in response to recent U.S. accusations that Pakistan's top spy agency is aiding the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based militant group believed to be attacking U.S. troops across the border in Afghanistan.
Washington views the Haqqani network as perhaps the biggest threat to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, and several U.S. lawmakers have called for U.S. attacks on Haqqani members in Pakistan. Kayani warned the United States against taking such unilateral action, Azim said.
"The U.S. should think 10 times over before attacking Pakistani soil," Azim quoted Kayani as saying. "We are not Iraq or Afghanistan."
The United States has been pressing the Pakistani government to launch an offensive against the group's safe havens in the border district of North Waziristan.
Pakistan has so far refused, and Kayani gave no indication that Islamabad would change course soon. He said any decision on a military offensive in North Waziristan would be Pakistan's alone, Azim said.
"If someone convinces me that a military operation will solve everything, I'll do it tomorrow," Kayani said, according to Azim.
The Haqqani network emerged in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The group was funded and trained in part by the CIA and the ISI, Pakistan's top spy agency, to fight the Soviet occupation. Washington believes the ISI has maintained its links with the group in an effort to gain influence in Afghanistan once U.S. and international troops leave.
Pakistani officials acknowledge they are in contact with the Haqqani network but reject accusations that they support the group.