A rejoinder issued by the ISPR on Friday quoted Gen Kayani as having said that Admiral Mullen’s statement was “very unfortunate and not based on facts”.
But significantly embedded within the brief rejoinder was an unspoken acknowledgment that Haqqanis were crucial for reconciliation in Afghanistan and, therefore, a number of countries, including Pakistan, maintained contact with them.
“Admiral Mullen knows fully well which countries are in contact with the Haqqanis. Singling out Pakistan is neither fair nor productive,” the army chief said.
A military official disclosed in a background conversation that the United States and a number of European countries had been talking to the Haqqanis for reconciliation. During some recent contacts, he said, Pakistan had made it clear to the US that its engagement with the Haqqani network should not be misconstrued as one meant to undermine American interests in Afghanistan.
“We worked with them for positive objectives which could have been useful for all stakeholders in the Afghan end-game,” he stressed.
Gen Kayani, the ISPR handout said, found Admiral Mullen’s diatribe disturbing because his prolonged meeting with the latter in Spain last week was “rather constructive”.