Haqqani Network Charged with Launching Major Offensive in Afghanistan
(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The U.S. is blaming a Pakistani insurgent group for launching a series of coordinated attacks last Sunday that struck Kabul and other major cities in Afghanistan.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said Thursday that the Pentagon is confident the Haqqani network, which has ties to both the Taliban and al Qaeda, was behind the effort to target the Afghan parliament and various embassies in Kabul.
The assault was initially billed as the start of the Taliban's spring offensive, but evidence since then points to a more intricate and carefully plotted attack that is more the hallmark of the Haqqani network.
Crocker called the insurgents "the worst of the worst" and "a group of killers, pure and simple."
Afghan security forces with little help from the coalition were able to beat back the 18-hour siege, which cost the lives of 12 Afghans. Meanwhile, three dozen Haqqani fighters died during the attacks.
This latest action by the Haqqani network spurred Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to demand that Islamabad shut down sanctuaries in Pakistan that the group and other militants continue to use as a base to launch attacks inside Afghanistan.
However, critics in Pakistan accused the U.S. of using the Haqqani network as an excuse to justify drone attacks in the lawless northwestern region where the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Haqqanis hold sway.
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