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Haqqani network: Pakistan’s military ready to address US concerns

The Pakistan Army is ready to address the US concerns
vis-à-vis the Haqqani network but shows no signs of going after them in
the North Waziristan tribal region where, Washington believes, the
insurgent group is headquartered. 

At a meeting in Rawalpindi on Friday, the top military commanders
expressed their willingness to lower tensions with the United States by
narrowing down differences on the Haqqani network.

“Pakistan wants a constructive engagement with the US to deal with
the Haqqani issue,” an official familiar with the development told The
Express Tribune.

The official, who wished not to be named, ruled out the possibility
of a military operation in North Waziristan – a region dubbed by the US
as the most dangerous place on earth.

“Use of force is not the answer to every problem,” he said repeating
the recent statement by Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Addressing the Pak-Saudi joint military exercises in Mangla on
Thursday, Gen Kayani reportedly said that military operations were not
the ideal way of dealing with every issue.

His remarks are being seen as Pakistan’s hardening stance on the North Waziristan operation despite the mounting US pressure.

However, it is unclear what exactly Pakistan is offering to the US as
an alternative to a military operation in order to deal with the

A senior military official, when approached, referred to the foreign
ministry’s last news briefing in which it said that Pakistan’s policy
was guided by its national interests.

“We have our own national interests … we have certain redlines and we
are very clear that we won’t compromise on them,” said the official who
spoke after being assured that his name would not be revealed.

The corps commanders also discussed possible implications of the
recent strategic partnership deal that Afghanistan signed with India.The
commanders voiced concerns on allegations by senior Afghan officials
that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was involved in the
assassination of former Afghan president Bhurhanuddin Rabbani.

A brief statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations
(ISPR) did not mention any of these issues. “The conference was a part
of regular monthly meetings. The forum took a comprehensive overview of
the routine professional matters aimed at enhancing proficiency of the
army,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter met with Foreign
Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to discuss the ongoing tensions between their

“Bilateral relations and the regional situation were discussed. Both
agreed to work together for strengthening bilateral cooperation and for
coordination on regional issues,” said a brief statement issued by the
Foreign Office.

An American diplomat commenting on the meeting said that the two countries were making efforts to sort out their differences.

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