Haqqani group was once CIA’s ‘blue-eyed boy’: Hina Khar

NEW YORK: Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar says the Haqqani group that the US holds responsible for last week’s attack against the American embassy inKabul was CIA’s “blue-eyed boy” for many years.

Responding to questions during an interview with Al Jazeera television, Khar, who is in New York leading Pakistan’s delegation to the UN General Assembly, rejected US accusations against the Pakistani intelligence agency, saying it has no links to the Haqqani network.

“If we talk about links, I am sure the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) also has links with many terrorist organisations around the world, by which we mean intelligence links,” she said. “And this particular network, which [the United States] continues to talk about, is a network which was the blue-eyed boy of the CIA itself for many years.”

Specifically asked about Admiral Mike Mullen’ statement that the Haqqani group “acts as a veritable arm” of ISI, the foreign minister said, “It is something that goes very, very unappreciated on our side.

This is unsubstantiated. No evidence has been shared with us.” Partners and allies, she said, do not talk to each other through public statements.

Pakistan had taken up the matter with the United States, but the spate of hostile statements coming from senior USofficials meant that Washington had taken policy decision. If that was the case then “We have the right to make our own decision.”

Khar went to say that scapegoating and blame games would not help. Pakistan wanted to be a US partner. “I just hope that we’ll be given a chance to co-operate with each other and the doors will remain open – because statements like this are pretty much close to shutting those doors,” she added.

Such statement would alienate the people of Pakistan. Replying to a question, the foreign minister said the drone attacks not only violated Pakistan’s sovereignty, they were also counterproductive, and greatly anger the people ofPakistan. “I think we must not be tested more than we have the ability to bear,” she added.