The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey joined Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta Thursday in expressing unhappiness with Pakistan’s progress in battling the Haqqani network’s use of safe havens in Pakistan.
“Although we are extraordinarily dissatisfied with the effect that Pakistan has had on the Haqqani network, we are also mindful that they are conducting military operations, at great loss elsewhere,” Dempsey said.
Regional Command East, which includes Khost and Logar provinces, has seen an uptick in activity, largely due increased activity by the Haqqani network, Dempsey said.
The Haqqani network is as big a threat to Pakistan as it is to Afghanistan and the United States, Dempsey said. He added that the U.S. will continue to work with Pakistan to find common ground on ways to deal with the cross-border threat posed by the Haqqani network and other groups.
In addition to the recent activity by the Haqqani network, Dempsey said al-Qaeda remains a threat in Pakistan, particularly within the FATA, and to a lesser extent within Afghanistan. Coalition efforts have been very successful in eliminating al-Qaeda leaders, though others continue to take their place, he added.
Dempsey cited the June 4 death of Abu Yahya Al-Libi, al-Qaeda's second in command, as an example of those successes, calling it a significant loss for the terror group.
“He had longstanding credibility and he had operational skills that are tough to grow overnight, and so that will be something that affects the al-Qaeda network globally, not just in south Asia,” Dempsey said.
“Most of those who 10 years ago we began tracking are no longer a part of al-Qaeda, they’re no longer part of any organization,” Dempsey said. “We are at war with al-Qaeda and we will pursue them wherever we find them,” he said.