WASHINGTON – The diplomat nominated to be America's next ambassador to Pakistan says getting Islamabad to crack down on the Haqqani network will be his central task.
Richard Olson tells a Senate confirmation hearing that Pakistan has helped the U.S. so that "we are virtually within grasp of defeating al-Qaida as an organization." But he says the reluctant U.S. counterterrorism ally should do more against the threat by the Haqqanis, a Taliban-related group based in Pakistan that launches attacks in Afghanistan.
The U.S. considers the Haqqani the greatest threat to its mission in Afghanistan. And it has lamented links between the Haqqanis and Pakistani intelligence.
Olson says pressing Pakistan on the Haqqanis would be his "most urgent" responsibility and would urge further measures against them."