The Taliban took the unusual step yesterday of insisting that it, not Pakistan, controls the Haqqani network, with Islamabad under growing US pressure to cut alleged ties with the group.
The militia advised Pakistan, historically perhaps its closest foreign ally, to prioritize “Islamic and national” interests and stand firm in the face of “America’s two-faced and implacable politics.”
“Neither are our bases in Pakistan nor do we need residence outside of our country,” said the English-language statement in the name of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — the Taliban’s name for itself — on its Voice of Jihad Web site.
“All the military and civilian activities in the country are our own initiatives and our own actions. The respected Maulawi Jalaluddin Haqqani [the group’s founder] is [one of the] Islamic Emirate’s honorable and dignified personalities and receives all guidance for operations from the leader of the Islamic Emirate,” the statement said.
Most analysts consider the Haqqani network a powerful Taliban faction loyal to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar, with strong ties to al-Qaida.
A spokesman for the US State Department says it is considering placing the Haqqani network on its list of terror groups.
The US has blamed the Haqqanis, with the involvement of Pakistani spies, over the Sept. 13 attack on its embassy in Kabul in a 19-hour siege, in which 14 people died.
The top US military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, also accused Pakistan’s intelligence service of supporting the Haqqani network in attacking Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel last June.
“Our advice to the people of Pakistan and its government is that it should deliberate on America’s two-faced and implacable politics,” the Taliban said “It should always give precedence to its Islamic and national interests and they should have a firm belief that America will never be happy with them until they loot all their material and moral assets.”