"most powerful military man", army chief General Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani, isn't "a big fan of the Haqqani network" and would prefer
a stable, peaceful environment on the border with India, suggests
the top US military officer.
While sticking to his controversial remarks that the Haqqani
network blamed for the attack on the US embassy in Kabul is a
"veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)
agency, retiring Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen
Wednesday sought to make a distinction between Pakistan and its
Asked if the Haqqanis were acting out at the direction of the
Pakistani government, Mullen told NPR public radio in an interview
that he had "talked about them supporting it".
"When Gen. Kayani and I have talked about this in the past, he's
not a big fan of the Haqqani network. It's a very lethal, very
virulent insurgent terrorist group that you just can't - you just
can't walk up to and eliminate."
Asked if ISI was then out of the control of Kayani whom he had
described as "the most powerful military man in Pakistan" Mullen
said he believed it was in his control and was being used as an
instrument of policy.
"I don't believe that. In fact, I believe it's within his
control," he said noting that Pakistan has been "historically
supporting" insurgent groups or proxies like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
"Quite frankly, historically, has been support has been LeT -- and
LeT, basically, originally created to focus on the challenges in
Kashmir, yet -- which is in the -- on the eastern side of
"And they are now actually spreading west. But it's part of the
strategy, from my perspective, that is there to enhance the
security of the country. That's how it is thought about there," he
"I think unlocking Kashmir, which is a very difficult issue on the
Pak-Indian border, is one that opens it all up, and I think -- I
believe we have to continue to try to, all of us, figure out a way
to work that as well," Mullen said.
Asked if Kayani wanted to make a durable peace with India, Mulllen
said: "In many discussions I've had with him, he would much rather
have a stable, peaceful environment on both his borders than the
one he has right now."
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)