WASHINGTON - The US and Pakistan appear to be heading for renewed collision after a top American general blamed a bloody attack on a Kabul hotel on Pakistan-based Haqqani network and White House vowed to take “necessary steps” to mitigate the threat.
“Our concern about militants using Pakistan as a safe haven from which to launch attacks against our forces is well known,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, traveling with President Barack Obama on Air Force One to Tampa.
“We’ll take steps necessary to mitigate that threat,” the spokesman said in hard comments after US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan General John Allen accused the Haqqani network of orchestrating a 12-hour siege on a lakeside hotel in Kabul that killed 18 people on Friday.
In a statement, Allen blamed the al Qaeda-linked network just weeks after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the US was running out of patience with Pakistan over its refusal to eliminate terror havens.
Earnest said Washington had raised the issue “both publicly and privately with the Pakistani government”.
“We value our relationship with Pakistan and we’ll continue to find ways to work together to combat those terrorist groups that pose a threat both to the United States forces, but also to innocent Pakistani civilians,” he said.