The Blame Game

Washington is turning up the heat on Islamabad to go after Haqqani militants, and causing some waves. On Saturday, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter stoked the flames by saying that Islamabad is connected to the Haqqani insurgents: “There is evidence linking the Haqqani Network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop.” An anonymous senior Pakistani military official told Reuters today that Washington needs to stop blaming Islamabad when things go wrong in Afghanistan. “Instead of blaming us, they should take action against terrorists on their side of the border,” the official said.

Meeting with Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Kharr in New York, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Islamabad to “take action on the Haqqani network,” according to State Department official. Clinton and Khar met for 3.5 hours and reviewed “the whole nature of [the U.S.-Pakistan] relationship, though counterterrorism and the Haqqani network were at the top of the agenda. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also joined in the fray during a sitdown with Pakistan’s General Ashfaq Kayani on Friday. The meeting wasn’t quite as long as Clinton’s, but the two did talk for over two hours. One of Mullen’s spokesman said that the admiral “conveyed his deep concerns about the increasing -- and increasingly brazen -- activities of the Haqqani network.”

National Security Adviser Tom Donilon is keeping positive about the U.S.-Saudi Arabia alliance despite concerns that have come with the spread of the Arab Spring. “I would be less than honest if I didn't indicate there were disagreements about how the United States should go about handling” the uprisings, Donilon said, but the relationship is still “in very good shape.” Holding things together, he went on, are “shared strategic interests.”

Back at home, Representatives Howard “Buck” McKeon and Joe Wilson wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urging him to postpone the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell. The two have already expressed their opposition to repealing the policy, which prohibits gays from serving openly in the military. McKeon and Wilson cited the lack of “final, approved policies” for their calls for delay.