Panetta’s remarks “unhelpful”: Sherry


Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has said that Leon Panetta’s remarks about ‘running out of patience’ with Islamabad’s failure to eliminate safe militant heavens were not helpful, according to a private TV channel.
Earlier on Thursday, Leon Panetta lashed out at Pakistan and the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network during a brief visit to Kabul overshadowed by fury over a NATO air strike that allegedly killed 18 civilians, an issue that the Pentagon chief did not address in public.
Panetta’s trip to Kabul to assess the state of the war and plans to withdraw US combat troops by the end of 2014 coincided with an increase in violence. “Even though we are seeing an uptick in violence in recent days, the overall level of violence is down from past years,” he said. “It’s an increasing concern that this safe haven exists and that there are those like the Haqqanis who are making use of that to attack our forces,” Panetta told a news conference with his Afghan counterpart, Abdul Rahim Wardak.
“We are reaching the limits of our patience here,” he said. “For that reason, it’s extremely important that Pakistan take action to prevent this kind of safe haven,” he said. “We have made that very clear time and time again and we will continue to do that. But as I said, we are reaching the limits of our patience,” he added.
The Afghan and US governments have suggested the war in Afghanistan cannot be won without safe havens in Pakistan being dismantled.
Analysts say Islamabad allows the Haqqanis to operate to hedge against any influence by their arch-foe India in Afghanistan, while critics in Pakistan accuse the Americans of deflecting blame for the increasingly deadly war.
The Pentagon chief blamed an attack last week on Forward Operating Base Salerno, in eastern Afghanistan, on the Haqqani network.