September 28th, 2011
07:10 PM ET

Mullen keeps focus on Pakistan government link to Haqqani network

Editor's Note: Tune in Sunday at 10a.m. ET/PT to watch Fareed Zakaria's full interview with Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.

Repeating the thrust of his controversial earlier criticism, retiring Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN's "Fareed Zarkaria GPS" on Wednesday that elements in Pakistan's spy service are "very active" with the Haqqani network launching attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the White House on Wednesday distanced itself from Mullen's statement to Congress last week that the Haqqani network acted as a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that an unidentified Pentagon official said Mullen had overstated the link to Congress. In response, his spokesman, Capt. John Kirby, told CNN on Wednesday that Mullen "stands by every word" of his congressional testimony.

Asked by Zakaria if he overstated the situation to Congress, Mullen repeated that a link exists but referred to elements in the spy network as opposed to some kind of formal structure.

"There are elements I think of the ISI very active with Haqqani," Mullen said, adding that "the piece" of the ISI "that is so focused on sending Taliban and insurgents into Afghanistan" from safe havens in Pakistan must be addressed by both the United States and Pakistan's government and military.

The interview will broadcast on Sunday, the day after Mullen's term as the nation's top military commander ends.

His language Wednesday was closer to how the White House described the situation.

At the White House briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a question about Mullen's statement to Congress last week by saying: "It's not language that I would use."

Carney said, "It is the position of the administration that there are links (between the Haqqani network and Pakistan) and that Pakistan needs to take action to address that ... and to deal with the fact that there (are) safe havens for this criminal network that is dangerous for Pakistan, as well as for the United States and Afghanistan."

Both Carney and Mullen noted how Pakistan's government and military, including the ISI, have supported U.S. objectives against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"With respect to the ISI, we enjoy in ways a very positive relationship in some areas, we're focused on shared interests, we've operated together, and from that perspective it's been very positive and actually improving," Mullen told Zakaria.

Last week, Mullen's blunt accusation was interpreted as an expression of the growing impatience of U.S. officials with Pakistan's unwillingness to stop the attacks, and the belief that elements in the Pakistani government are actively supporting the insurgents.

The attacks, including a recent attempt to strike at the NATO headquarters and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and last week's assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading efforts for reconciliation talks, have raised questions about the ability of Afghan security forces to maintain control.

Mullen, appearing last Thursday for the last time before the Senate Armed Services Committee before his retirement, said Pakistan was "exporting" violence to Afghanistan.

"The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's intelligence," Mullen said then.

His comment was criticized by Pakistani officials, who denied their government was helping the Haqqani network. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar called the accusations coming out of Washington unacceptable and warned on GEO TV that "you will lose an ally."

In his interview with Zakaria on Wednesday, Mullen said "the strategic intent here is to ... focus on this like a laser, because it's been there for a long time and unless the Pakistani leaders take action, it will continue to be there and that support will continue to be there."

Also Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to joint U.S.-Pakistani efforts to halt Haqqani network attacks in Afghanistan.

"You will see a lot of work taking place as we try to determine how best to confront this mutual threat and it's important to realize that, while it's not always easy, the United States and Pakistan have vital strategic interests that converge in the fight against terrorism, and Pakistan faces a very real threat," Clinton said. "They have suffered far more casualities, civilian and military alike."

In addition, Clinton said U.S. officials were "in the final formal review" for designating the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.

At last week's congressional hearing, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said recent meetings on the issue have involved Mullen with the top Pakistani military officer, as well as CIA Director David Petraeus and Pakistani's top intelligence officer.

The United States has pushed Pakistan to crack down on the Haqqani network in those talks, Panetta said.

The chairman of the Senate committee, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said the ability of the Haqqani network, a Pakistani militant group, to launch attacks over the border from Pakistan was unacceptable.

Levin expressed frustration with the Pakistani government, which has yet to use its troops to crack down on the insurgents. Some legislators have called for cutting aid to Pakistan over the issue.

CNN's Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen contributed to this report. Tune in 10a.m. ET/PT this Sunday to watch Fareed Zakaria's full interview with Adm. Mike Mullen.

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Topics: GPS Show • Pakistan • Terrorism

soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Fu..K Saba

    USA is not able to contain 1 Million Afghans and now want to MESS with Pakistan with 180 Million population +700,000 strong Army with 100+ Nuclear Arms. people OPEN your eyes...and Stop this Military industrial complex.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  2. GULLU

    showing bunch of vidoes and telling some body to blame some one dont count my brother people are not stupid understand that i dont understand that how a person can go to sleep knowing that people kids and little kids will die regardless it i muslim leader or christian country or any jew person how any leader go home and sleep knowing that with there bombing little kids and innocent people will die which has nothing to do with it look how much world is safe today tell me any one tell me is world is safe today only euroup and america who else evey where else some body is killing somebody who careated it and for what i dont understand that if iam a leader of a nation i will feel for every person of my nation so they dont go hungry at home as u wish for u and your kids this thought make me pray to ALLAH and ask him for his forgivness for his beautiful creation humans i hope no body is feel hert from my comments if he or she does i appologize

    September 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  3. krm1007

    PAKISTAN….. THANK YOU …. THANK YOU…. THANK YOU!!!!

    “Since Sep 11, 2001, 21,672 Pakistani civilians have lost their lives or have been seriously injured in the war against terror.

    The Pakistani Army also has lost 2,795 soldiers while 8,671 soldiers have been wounded. More than 3.5 million have been displaced while the country has lost $68 billion due to terrorism.

    Despite sacrifices, Pakistan was still engaged in 'the war for world peace”.

    'CAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY DO SO? ONLY PAKISTAN.'

    September 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  4. GULLU

    the person who put the videos look who they are former sec state madlen albright another person who dont have no ground reality clue what is going on and bunch of americans and another jock is petter bergan who only interview once binladin and h become senior expert for terrorism come on man he dont go out in to pakistan and any other country where all of that menus is existed to tell the truth what is going on basis of ground realities so plzzz i dont beleive that and i just do my job go home sleep thinking that i God have given every thing in my life that i worked for i love my former country i love usa i cant say anything about my country becuase my grass roots are there i cant say any thing about this country becuase this country have given every thing that i would have not deserve in my country so every body is equal for me and i respect every person in my life many thanks for cnn to have this blogg out so people can represent themselve openly thank you

    September 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  5. GULLU

    I dont even want to discuss about rushdi because he is no body for me he will pay after life what he said i will go to my grave and he is going to be going to his grave i have to answer my deed and he had to do it for him may God forgive him and me as well iam body to judge for him weather he should live or i dont want to say. i will not trust his world becuase he is no one and secondly why should i do belive what these people are saying becuase non of them have any ground reality experience they know what every body says on media any way so i dont need to belive what ever they say thank you for not taking my comments seriously thank you

    September 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  6. GULLU

    saba i dont think you have read the report about those 20 billions so called only 8.9 billion was given and was billed 20 billions so get your facts togather sis

    September 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Reply
    • Saba

      It is much more than 20 billion dollars, US has been wasting much much more than that in Pakistan, 18.9 billion is lot less money

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j72HvZv3Ho&w=640&h=390]

      September 30, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
  7. GULLU

    I DONT UNDERSTAND THAT EVERY BODY START SAYING 20 BILL AND I AM SURE THAT YOU HEARD FROM MEDIA ALSO SO PLZZ SIS GET YOUR FACTS TOGATHER PLLZ

    September 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  8. Max

    And let the pakistan bashing begin......indian flase flaggers get a life

    September 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  9. GULLU

    SABA U NEED TO BE ON GROUND TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IS GOING ON U JUST SAYING WHAT EVERY U R SAYING SITTING IN YOUR ROOM NOTHING TO DO OOOO SO LET ME MAKE COMMENTS SINCE THIS IS A HOT STORY ON MEDIA BLAM GAME IF I WANT TO DO I COULD DO THAT TOO BUT U HAVE VERY LESS KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WHAT R U TALKING ABOUT SO GO TO HISTORY SCHOOL WHAT IT SAY ABOUT AFGANISTAN AND PAKISTAN WHO HELPED WHO SO GO TO HISTORY SCHOOL OR READ SOME BOOD IF YOU CAN REACH ON THANK YOU I WLL REALY APPRICIATE THAT

    September 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Reply
    • Saba

      I will not read the distorted history you Pakistanis teach to your kids that breeds religious divide and hatred and all I have said is authentic and true...US has wasted much more than 20 billion dollars on a rogue and traitor called Pakistan

      October 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  10. Johar

    And why you could not clean up Afghanistan when you were the intelligence chief. This guy is lacking diplomatic and security skills.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  11. T klimchuk

    Finally the Pakis has been caught with their hands in the cookie jar

    September 30, 2011 at 7:28 am | Reply
  12. alidongfong

    "A LOST WAR" AND EASY ESCAPE HA HA"dear Amercians really i cant understand why u people are so stupid and wasting u tax $,( 400 billion$ can move u in a space in a home), on a war on mountains only, really useless and has no end and reason for u to fight it let them run their own country whats wrong in it they dont wana run usa they wana run their own country which is AFG, although u are intelligent no doubt in it that how can any country act against its own spy agency?can usa act against CIA?can India act against RAW?can israeal act against MOSAD?come on guys be logical we people are suffering more in this war of terror pls try to understand u cant gain any thing by not making Pakistan on yours side u will rather aggravate the situation as u can,t do any thing in the reagin without pakistan be sure about it.even u are a super power guys why u wana create more of your enemies?,have u ever thought that why chines and Russian wana more and more friendly towards Pakistan?they know the geopolitical importance of pakistan and know what pak can do for the reagion we did,t say that we cant act against any terrorist but let the time to be of ours choice not of yours we are already stretched al lot army wise any othere explanation u(my american friends) need pls feel free to ask.thanks love to Pakistan and love to china and some love to usa if u wana less less less less

    September 30, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
    • Saba

      India need not act against RAW, US need not act against CIA and Israel need not act against Mossad as these Intelligence agencies are run by a democratically elected Govt that is Supreme and the Army is subservient to the Govt.

      In Pakistan , It is the EXACT OPPOSITE, THE PAKISTANI Govt is SUBSERVIENT TO THE ISI AND THE ARMY

      THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE

      October 2, 2011 at 7:34 am | Reply
    • Saba

      Pakistan is a terrorist state and now a Failed state

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcgTWWSj2CA&w=640&h=390]

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3hK6e6f4hw&w=640&h=390]

      October 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  13. alidongfong

    and guys u know these Indians under american names has the poorest populations on earth. american are acknowledging our efforts in this war these India rats under american name flowing hate against Pakistan so be aware of them.there is no need for u to read or ans any comments against us look your human right situation in India(Kashmir, Gujarat and violence against christian peoples to burn out theirs churches less less

    September 30, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • Saba

      Hey Paki rat

      do you know that your Paki Muslim army slaughtered 3 million Bengali Muslims and Hindus

      Why has there been no INTERNATIONAL TRIAL FOR THE BENGALI GENOCIDE

      ANSWER PAKI , ANSWER

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHlDwu6tigg&w=640&h=390]

      October 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  14. I Love You Pak

    Saba Cool!.. Either u dont know anything or lying. Tell if u r follower to ur RAAM and Bhagwan...wasnt India behind the story of Bengalis killing....Listen They are our brothers and would contunue to remain....our hearts still beat still together.....

    Curses of crows dont kill cows....u idiots, fools and oppertunists are never remembered in history....Stop writing and go to hell.

    October 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • Saba

      :( PAKIS INSULT OTHER RELIGIONS :( PAKIS INSULT OTHER RELIGIONS :( PAKIS INSULT OTHER RELIGIONS :(

      "Tell if u r follower to ur RAAM and Bhagwan." PROVES THAT Pakis like you have no respect for other religions like Hinduism, Christianity or Judaism

      WHY SHOULD BE RESPECT YOU AND YOUR PAKISTANI VERSION OF DISTORTED ISLAM ?????

      YOUR ARMY THE PAKI ARMY WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR 3 MILLION BENGALI DEATHS AND YOU CANNOT HIDE THAT BLOOD

      October 2, 2011 at 2:12 am | Reply
  15. I Love You Pak

    Pakistanis have lost precious lives..and still they have more courage and stamina....if 300 are killed and hell-driven in India.....crying and crying and crying every where......
    I salute ur brave souls.....The Great Pakistanis

    October 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  16. I Love You Pak

    We have a number of enemies.....enemies who are occpying more tan 95 percent of the world resources...Israel, US (playing secret game), India (picker of hunted one)...
    Israel and US have same interests...but India...haahh....getting the oppertunity of making friend to the Pakistan's enemies....they bast....d...

    October 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  17. TonyTea

    Why doesn't our government just use civil war as the ultimate weapon in the Middle East? Get the wars started in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and all those other terrorist harboring nations over there and they'll be killing each other and dwidling their numbers for decades. They'll never even remember how or who started it. That's what they know best over there, how to kill mercilessly. We beat our dependency on oil, dry up their money supply, and these countries will revert back to the 12th century in no time.

    October 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Reply
    • Cam Rankin

      I'm with you on that!

      October 3, 2011 at 1:35 am | Reply
  18. Giavur

    It took the USA more than ten years to realize Pakistan is a terrorist Nation. Bravo!! If they the Pakistanis had a chance they would slash the throat of every Christian like the Turks did during the era of Ottoman empire and eliminated the Christians of Asia minor. Who is supplying arms to Taliban for more than ten years? Pakistan first. Iran comes second.

    October 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  19. Saba

    There is not one Pakistani, just one Pakistani who is man enough in this forum to come and say/admit that there is a problem and say that Pakistan has exported terror.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammad ( A Pakistani ) pitched ideas to attack US by flying planes into buildings

    SO A PAKISTANI MASTERMIND WAS BEHIND THE IDEA OD SEPT 11, 2001

    YET Pakistanis blame US, INDIA AND ISRAEL, Therefore a Top CIA officer says that Pakistanis are PATHOLOGICAL LIARS

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqNMCAOzJKA&w=640&h=390]

    October 2, 2011 at 1:56 am | Reply
  20. Saba

    SAD FACTS :

    Pakistani civilian deaths are due to the Taliban that Pakistan created and the strategy backfired, PAKISTANI ARMY AND ISI ARE RESPONSIBLE

    STOP BLAMING INDIA AND ISRAEL AND EVEN AMERICA

    YOU WANTED AMERICAN MONEY, YOU BROUGHT INTO THE IDEA OF CREATING TALIBAN IN THE 1980'S

    YOUR SELFISH INTEREST IN HARMING INDIA BY BEING A US MERCENARY SEVERELY BACKFIRED AND STILL, WORSE STILL YOUR NATION SUPPORTS AND HARBORS TERRORIST GROUPS

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5p_kIZOGE8&w=640&h=390]

    October 2, 2011 at 2:07 am | Reply
  21. Saba

    :( STOP PAK AID :( STOP TERROR :( STOP ISI :( STOP PAK AID :(

    WHY HAVE WASTED 20 BILLION DOLLARS ON PAKISTAN ????????

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=996MBhoJPjU&w=640&h=390]

    :( STOP PAK AID :( STOP TERROR :( STOP ISI :( STOP PAK AID :(

    October 2, 2011 at 2:20 am | Reply
  22. Saba

    PAKISTAN IS PARANOID ABOUT INDIA'S AID TO AFGHANISTAN , that's why Pakistan is screwing itself and becoming an AXIS OF EVIL

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2-SOkNd45o&w=640&h=390]

    October 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  23. Cam Rankin

    Pakistan isn't our friend. They are not our enemy (at least yet) They hate Christians. They hate Jews. They have no tolerance. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer! GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES!

    October 3, 2011 at 1:38 am | Reply
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