The United States has called on Pakistan to "break any link they have" with the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani militant network, and to take action to shut down the group's safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
White House spokesman Jay Carney made the call a day after outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said the Haqqani network "acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's [Inter-Services Intelligence] agency."
The Haqqani network is believed to number around 15,000, making it probably the largest force among the Taliban warlords.
Mullen also said it was "with ISI support" that Haqqani operatives attacked the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on September 13 and conducted a September 10 truck bomb attack on a NATO outpost south of the Afghan capital.
Pakistan reacted, saying Washington risks losing an ally if it continues to publicly criticize Islamabad's performance in the war against militancy.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told Geo TV in New York that Washington "cannot afford to alienate the Pakistani people."
compiled from agency reports