Pakistan’s National Security Advisor, Sartaj Aziz, on Tuesday rejected claims by the U.S National Security Advisor Susan Rice that his country had failed to act against Haqqani Network.
Speaking after a meeting with German Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Aziz said Pakistan has ousted the insurgent group but added that Haqqani had simply moved across into Afghanistan – where they are now based.
“The infrastructure of the Haqqani Network in north Waziristan, which included IED (improvised explosive device) factories and a number of other facilities including communication [centers] has been destroyed, so what is left here may be very limited compared to the capacity they have in Afghanistan.”
This comes after Rice called on Pakistan Monday, during a visit to Islamabad, to stop terrorist networks from carrying out attacks on Afghanistan from within its borders.
Meanwhile, the German Foreign Minister on his visit Tuesday to Islamabad asked Afghanistan and Pakistan to set aside their differences and put an end to past conflicts.
“We stand a chance to leave the strains of the past behind us, and if we can take President (Ashraf) Ghani’s word, after talks that I had in the last few days, he too is convinced that only the overcoming of bilateral difficulties can bring success to the struggle against terrorism and the continuation of successful talks with certain groups,” said Steinmeier.
It has long been suspected that the main stronghold of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network is in Pakistan but Pakistani politicians continue to deny this.
“Today, the region and the world have realized the truth of Afghanistan and always ask Pakistan to deal with terrorist groups who are active in Pakistan,” said Syed Zafar Hashemi, President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman.
However, the Chairman of the Legislative Committee of Parliament, Qazi Nazir Ahmad Hanafi said that in saying Haqqani’s infrastructure has been destroyed in Pakistan, the government is now admitting to them having been there.
“From one side the continuation of the daily war against Afghanistan and from the other side the eviction of Haqqani Network from Pakistan, it means they [Haqqani Network] did exist in Pakistan, and we [Pakistan] funded them and equipped them and now we evicted them. This is a confession that Sartaj Aziz admitted,” said Chairman of Legislative Committee of Parliament, Qazi Nazir Ahmad Hanafi.
This comes after Washington recently cut its $1 billion USD aid program to Islamabad on the back of their decision that Pakistan was not doing enough towards counter-terrorism operations in north Waziristan in order to squash Haqqani.
The US has been reimbursing Pakistan for operations and maintenance costs incurred in direct support of its operations in Afghanistan since 2001. So far $13 billion USD has been reimbursed to Pakistan under this arrangement.