Sunday, September 25, 2011

Corps Commander Meeting Ends in Islamabad

Islamabad : The Corps Commander Meeting Ends in Islamabad which was called by Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani on Sunday of his top commanders to discuss the security situation, as the war of words with the United States escalated.

The extraordinary meeting of the corps commanders came against the backdrop of sharp US allegations that Pakistan army’s spy agency supported the Haqqani militant group Washington blames for the recent attack on its embassy and other targets in Kabul.

In a terse two-line statement, the military said the commanders would “review (the) prevailing security situation.” 

The corps commanders meeting comes a day after Kayani met with US CENTCOM commander General James N. Mattis in Pakistan, but military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said the two meetings were “unrelated.” 

In an interview with CNN, Abbas acknowledged that army’s Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) maintained contacts with the Haqqani network, but said that didn’t mean it supported it.

“Any intelligence agency would like to maintain contact with whatever opposition group, whatever terrorist organisation … for some positive outcome,” he told CNN in a telephone interview. 

However, he said there was a huge difference between maintaining those contacts to facilitate peace and supporting it against an ally. 

In the most blunt remarks by a US official since Pakistan joined the US-led war on militancy in 2001, the outgoing chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, on Thursday testified before the US Senate that the Haqqani militant network is a “veritable arm” of the ISI. 

He also for the first time held Islamabad responsible for the Kabul attack, saying Pakistan provided support for that assault. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani rejected US allegations as a sign of American “confusion and policy disarray”. 

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told Washington on Friday that it risked losing an ally if it kept accusing Islamabad of playing a double game in the war against militancy, and escalating a crisis in ties triggered by US forces’ killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in an unannounced raid in May. 

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