Even as it faces the most explicit US accusations yet that it supports Afghan insurgents, Pakistan is unlikely to act promptly on American demands that it move against their sanctuaries, straining an anti-terror alliance that is looking weaker than ever.
US officials maintain that Pakistani inaction against militants on its territory is making it impossible for the 130,000 American troops in neighbouring Afghanistan to break the insurgency before their scheduled 2014 withdrawal.
The main US focus is the Haqqani network. American officials say the group, which is tied to al Qaeda, is the most dangerous threat to American troops in Afghanistan.
On Thursday, Mike Mullen, the soon-to-retire chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accused Pakistan’s ISI of directly aiding the Haqqanis in last week’s assault against the US Embassy in Kabul, one of the most serious accusations yet against a country that receives billions in US aid each year.
While most Pakistani officials don’t deny that the Haqqani network is present in the border region, they say US is exaggerating its reach and potency. They suggest Washington’s focus on the network, which has roots in the CIA-backed campaign against Soviet-rule in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is meant to cover up US’ failings in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has resisted US calls to move against the Haqqanis, and there is little to suggest a change is in the offing.