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Top U.S. commander to press Pak on action against Haqqani network

June 26, 2012 - Islamabad

A top U.S. commander leading foreign forces in Afghanistan, will be visiting Pakistan this week amid renewed pressure by Washington to eliminate "terrorist sanctuaries" from the tribal belt.

General John Allen is likely to visit Pakistan on Wednesday to review border coordination measures with Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, reports The Express Tribune.

However, diplomatic sources said Washington would push Islamabad to move against the Haqqani network- one of the deadliest Afghan militants groups allegedly based in the tribal areas.

The U.S. has blamed last week's 12-hour siege on a lakeside hotel in Kabul on the Haqqani network.

"Afghan national security forces and coalition military sources acknowledge that this attack bears the signature of the Haqqani network, which continues to target and kill innocent Afghans," General Allen had said last week.

His statement came just weeks after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Washington was running out of patience with Pakistan over its refusal to eliminate "terrorist havens".

Pakistan has for years been resisting U.S. pressure to go after the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. Its reluctance is attributed to the military establishment's decade-old contacts with the Haqqanis and the belief that the group has a critical role in the Afghan endgame, the paper states.

But in recent months, the Haqqani network has become a major factor in the break down of the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S.

Relations between the two estranged allies are already strained because of several factors including the continued blockade of vital land routes for NATO forces by Pakistan.


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