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Pakistan hits out at U.S. over terrorist links comments

RIA Novosti

10:32 23/09/2011 MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) - Pakistan has said the United States risks losing it as its ally after America's most senior military officer accused the country's intelligence service of helping carry out deadly attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan.

Addressing U.S. senators on Thursday, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Haqqani network was a "veritable arm" of the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service.

The militant group, which is believed to be based in Pakistan, conducted an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul last week - part of a multi-pronged assault that also targeted the NATO headquarters and police buildings in the Afghan capital.

At least 25 people were killed in the violence.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar denied the ISI was working with the Haqqani group.

Speaking to Geo TV from New York, where she is attending the UN General Assembly, Khar warned Washington risked losing Islamabad as its ally.

"You cannot afford to alienate the Pakistani people," she said. "If they are choosing to do so, it will be at their own cost."

The U.S. withheld some $800 million in military aid to Pakistan over concerns that it may be linked with militant groups.

On Saturday, the U.S. ambassador to Islamabad told Pakistan's state radio there was evidence of the Pakistani government's alleged ties with militant groups, adding that "this is something that must stop," the BBC reported.

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