Sept. 22 - U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, the senior American military officer links Pakistan's intelligence service to attacks in Kabul carried out by the Haqqani militant network. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Kabul under siege. For 20 hours in mid September the US embassy and the compound for Nato in Kabul were under attack. The battle near the U.S. embassy and three suicide attacks in other parts of the city were a stark reminder of the militants' resources and reach as foreign forces start to return home. Now in testimony before Congress Americas'; top military adviser says that the Pakistan's Haqqani network -- with the support of Pakistan's Intelligence service the ISI played a role in those attacks. Admiral Mike Mullen, who steps down this month as chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff SOUNDBITE: Admiral Mike Mullen, saying: (English): "The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Internal Services Intelligence agency. With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy. We also credible intelligence that they were behind the June 28 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other small but effective operations. In choosing to use violence extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI, jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership but Pakistan's opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence." Mullen's charges, which are sure to heighten tensions, come amid mounting exasperation in Washington as the Obama administration struggles to curb militancy in Pakistan and end the long war in Afghanistan. Before Mullen spoke, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters the ISI had no part in the embassy attack. Some U.S. intelligence reporting alleges the ISI specifically directed or urged the Haqqani network to carry out the attack in Kabul, two U.S. officials and a source familiar with recent U.S.-Pakistan official contacts told Reuters on Wednesday. Mullen said the attack was an examples of the Taliban's shift toward high-profile violence. SOUNDBITE: Admiral Mike Mullen, saying: (English): "These acts of violence are as much about headlines and playing on the fears of a traumatized people, as they are about inflicting casualties -- maybe even more so," Such headline-grabbing strikes have been a blow to Washington's hopes to weaken a stubborn militancy and seal a peace deal with the Taliban as it plans to gradually draw down the U.S. force 10 years after the Afghan war began. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.