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Clinton says US expects Pakistan to act against Haqqani network

But despite US belief that Pakistan is not doing enough about the Haqqani network threatening Afghanistan, Islamabad worries that acting against the militant group will weaken Pakistan.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers a question during a talk in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday. The Obama administration on Friday intensified pressure on Pakistan to do more to crack down Islamist militants destabilizing Afghanistan, as Clinton delivered a tough public message that extremists have been able to operate in and from Pakistan for too long.

Kevin Lamarque/AP

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the US expects Pakistan to act against militant havens within its borders “over the next days and weeks.” Mrs. Clinton's comments underscore growing US impatience with Pakistan’s reluctance to deal with the potent Haqqani network, which carries out cross-border raids from its territory into Afghanistan.

Speaking at a press conference after holding talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in Islamabad on Friday, Mrs. Clinton also urged Pakistan to play a constructive role in bringing peace to Afghanistan, emphasizing that peace and stability in the region is in both countries’ interests.

Clinton sought to underscore the US and Pakistan’s joint goals in fighting terror, while acknowledging the sacrifices of 30,000 Pakistani civilians who have lost their lives to terrorism since 9/11.

But, she said, it is in Pakistan’s own interest “to squeeze the Haqqani network and other terrorists, because we know that trying to eliminate terrorist safe havens on one side of the border is not going to work. It’s like that old story – you can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them to bite only your neighbors. Eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.”

She added that in her talks with Pakistani leaders, “We had a very in-depth conversation with specifics. We are looking forward to taking that conversation and operationalizing it over the next days and weeks – not months and years, but days and weeks, because we have a lot of work to do to realize our shared goals.”

Though Ms. Khar did appear to acknowledge that Pakistan could do more, analysts say a major breakthrough is not likely, given that the Pakistan Army does not view attacking the Haqqani network – which, unlike the Pakistani Taliban or Al Qaeda, does not carry out attacks inside Pakistan – as being in its own interest.

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