As the Haqqani network was stepping up attacks in and around Kabul, U.S. officials met secretly with the militant group tied to al-Qaida and Pakistan, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The meeting, which took place before the group launched a high-profile, 20-hour assault on the U.S. embassy last month, was intended to start discussions on the way to wind down the war. Pakistani and U.S. officials told The Journal that the early effort has so far “yielded little.”
U.S. leaders have come down hard on the Haqqani network, which has displaced the Taliban as the best-trained, most ruthless American adversary in Afghanistan—and on Pakistan, which gives the armed group financial and military aid. Before he retired last week, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen testified on Capitol Hill that Pakistani officials must stop their support for and protection of the Haqqani network, which he said was a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence agency. Mullen went so far as to say the country was “exporting terrorism.”
Pakistan’s spy agency set up the meeting, “a fact that the Americans said confirmed their suspicions of Pakistani ties to the Haqqanis,” The Journal reported.