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Thursday
Sep292011

Adm. Mullen Stands by His Pakistan Comments

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a series of media interviews conducted prior to his stepping down Thursday as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen did not soften his critical views on Pakistan’s support for the Haqqani Network.

Mullen told NPR’s “Morning Edition” that he would not change “a word” of the testimony he gave to  the Senate Armed Services Committee last week when he described the Haqqani Network as “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency and that Pakistan was “exporting violence” to Afghanistan.

“I phrased it the way I wanted it to be phrased,” Mullen said.

Pakistani government officials have vehemently denied Mullen’s claims, which are seen as a reflection of the Obama administration’s growing impatience with Pakistan’s inability to shut down safe havens on Pakistan’s side of the border with Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network uses those safe havens to launch attacks against U.S. troops inside Afghanistan and the recent series of high-profile attacks in the capital city Kabul.

When asked to comment about Mullen’s comments Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “It’s not language that I would use.”

Mullen clarified his earlier remarks, telling NPR, “I’m not asserting that the Pak mil or the ISI has complete control over the Haqqanis.”

He added, “But the Haqqanis run that safe haven. They’re also a home to al Qaeda in that safe haven. And I am losing American soldiers. The Haqqanis are killing American soldiers. And from that perspective, I think it’s got to be addressed, which is the reason I spoke to it.”

Mullen also said that the United States and Pakistan must continue to work together to address reducing those ties, and have coordinated in recent years to eliminate the safe havens.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio