24 Sep 2011

Pakistan responds to US accusation

10:05 am on 24 September 2011

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar of Pakistan has warned that the United States could lose Pakistan as an ally if it continues to publicly accuse Islamabad of supporting the Haqqani network.

She told Geo TV that the US could not afford to alienate Pakistan's government or its people.

The White House kept up the pressure on Friday, urging Islamabad to break any links it has with the Haqqani network.

On Thursday, the US military accused Pakistan's spy agency of helping the group in a recent attack on Kabul.

Some 25 people died in an assault on the US embassy and other buildings.

Pakistan denies its intelligence service has links with the Haqqani network.

''You will lose an ally,'' Ms Khar, 34, told Geo TV in New York where she has been attending the UN General Assembly.

Admiral Mike Mullen told a Senate panel on Thursday: ''The Haqqani network ... acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.

''With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted a truck bomb attack (on 11 September), as well as the assault on our embassy,'' he said.

The BBC reports the Haqqani network is closely allied to the Taliban.

Earlier this month, Washington said it could target the Haqqani network on Pakistani soil if the authorities there failed to take action against it.

US-Pakistan ties have deteriorated sharply since the killing by US commandos of al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan on 1 May.