ISLAMABAD - The United States accused Pakistan on Saturday of having ties with a militant group Washington blames for an assault on the U.S. embassy and other targets in Kabul, demonstrating the strained relations between the two allies.
"The attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago, that was the work of the Haqqani network," the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, told Radio Pakistan in comments aired on Saturday.
"There is evidence linking the Haqqani Network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop."
Insurgents in a bomb-laden truck occupied a building in Kabul on Tuesday, raining rockets and gunfire on the U.S. embassy and other targets in the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital, and battled police during a 20 hour siege.
Five Afghan police and 11 civilians were killed in the multi-pronged attacks, which also included three suicide bombings at police compounds.
Washington has long blamed militants sheltering in neighbouring Pakistan for violence in Afghanistan. Islamabad says its forces are taking high casualties fighting insurgents, and bristles at any suggestion it provides support for fighters.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Pakistan on Wednesday the United States would "do everything we can" to defend U.S. forces from Pakistan-based militants staging attacks in Afghanistan.
The Haqqani network is perhaps the most divisive issue between the two allies, whose ties have been badly damaged by the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town in May.
The United States has repeatedly pressed Pakistan to go after the network, which it believes is one of the most lethal organisations in Afghanistan and enjoys sanctuaries in North Waziristan, a global hub for militants near the Afghan border.
Munter suggested ties with Pakistan, which relies heavily on billions of dollars of U.S. aid, were still heavily strained, despite recent comments from both sides on strong counter-terrorism cooperation.
"These relations today need a lot of work," he said. (Reporting by Qasim Nauman; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Peter Graff)
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