The dreaded Haqqani network has emerged as the "most ominous threat" to the already fragile US-Pakistan ties as American officials believe the terror group has an "ongoing relationship" with the ISI and the two were doing more than just talking, a media report has said.
A senior Obama administration official said that the US thinks the Haqqani network has an "ongoing relationship with the Pakistani spy agency ISI, according to the New York times.
The US and other Western officials, citing intelligence reports, say the ISI and Haqqanis "do more than just talk."
Pakistani intelligence allows Haqqani operatives to run legitimate businesses in Pakistan, facilitates their travel to Persian Gulf states and has continued to donate money, the NYT said. Senior Haqqani figures even own houses in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, where their relatives live unmolested.
At a time when the US readies to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, recent terror attacks like the June 1 assault on Camp Salerno near the border with Pakistan orchestrated by the Haqqani have "cemented the group's standing as the most ominous threat to the fragile American-Pakistani relationship," officials from both countries say.
The paper said a "new boldness from the Haqqanis that aims at mass American casualties, combined with simmering political tension, has reduced the room for ambiguity between the two countries."
A commonly held view inside the Obama administration is that the US is "one major attack" away from "unilateral action against Pakistan — diplomatically or perhaps even militarily," according to a senior official.
"If 50 US troops were blown to smithereens by the Haqqanis or they penetrated the US Embassy in Kabul and killed several diplomats — that would be the game changer," he said.
The two countries are just beginning to mend relations after months of grueling negotiations that reopened NATO supply routes through Pakistan.