'No lasting actions taken against Haqqani by Pakistan'

Indo Asian News Service

Kabul, March 10 (IANS) Pakistan has not taken any lasting actions against the notorious Haqqani terrorist network operating on Pakistani soil, Commander of the US Central Command General Joseph L. Votel has said.

In his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Votel on Thursday said: "Pakistan remains a critical partner in the counter-terrorism fight. Twenty US-designated terrorist organisations operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, seven of them in Pakistan."

According to him, as long as these groups "maintain safe havens in Pakistan, they threaten long-term stability in Afghanistan".

Votel said the Haqqani Network is of particular concern to the US. "It poses the greatest threat to coalition forces operating in Afghanistan."

"The Pakistan Army and security services have (so far) not taken any actions against the group. We have consistently called upon Pakistan to take the necessary actions to deny terrorists safe havens and improve security in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)," he said.

However, the General said the US has "seen some promising coordination between the Pakistani and Afghan militaries to address instability in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region".

He said the Pakistan Army continues to conduct counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the FATA and helps maintaining coalition operations in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani Network was formed in the late 1970s by Jalaluddin Haqqani.

The group aligns with Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban and cooperates with other terrorist organisations in the South Asia region.

The US designated the group as a terrorist organisation on September 7, 2012.