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U.S HELD MEETING WITH HAQQANI TERROR NETWORK

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On Tuesday evening 10/18/2011, in an apparent about-face, USA officials criticized the deal brokered between Hamas and Israel for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, which set hundreds of terrorists, including those who had murdered Americans, free. The comment was officially based on the principle of “not negotiating with terrorists” but reflected concern about the status of Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian Authority and the current situation of the non- existent peace process between Israel and Palestinians.

The US has held a meeting with representatives of the militant  Haqqani Network, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has revealed on Friday 10/21/2011. She did not give any details about who was involved or where they met but it is obvious Sirajuddin Haqqanis network is indeed a terror network. A senior US official said the meeting took place over the summer, before several major attacks against US interests in Afghanistan (see also – Badruddin Haqqani).

Hillary Clinton has been in talks in Islamabad where she has urged Pakistan to clamp down on the Haqqanis. She said the US held one preliminary meeting with the Haqqani Network “to see if they would show up”.  “In fact, the Pakistani government officials helped to facilitate such a meeting,” Mrs Clinton told Pakistani journalists. She added: “We have reached out to the Taliban (designated as a terror organization in US), we have reached out to the Haqqani network to test their willingness and their sincerity, and we are now working among us – Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States – to try to put together a process that would sequence us toward an actual negotiation” (see – Legitimizing Taleban)

Reports about such a meeting circulated over the summer but the US refused to confirm them at the time.

A senior US official also said the meeting took place over the summer at the request of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, who asked the US to give it a chance and which indicates again the relations between the Pakistani intelligence – ISI.

The meeting took place before two major attacks against US troops in Afghanistan and the US embassy in Kabul (see – Kabul 09.13.11). The attacks were blamed on the Haqqani network. In September, outgoing US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm Mike Mullen called the Haqqanis a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani intelligence agency, accusing the ISI of directly supporting the militants (see – Panetta Briefing 09.20.11).

Pakistan has denied supporting militants. Last month, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that his country “will not bow to US pressure” on fighting militancy.

Earlier, Mrs Clinton held talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who said more could be achieved with better international co-operation (see – Clintons Visit).

Speaking in the Afghan capital Kabul on Thursday, Mrs Clinton called for a new partnership between the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight militants, whom she urged to pursue peace. She said Pakistan “must be part of the solution” to the Afghan conflict.
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