By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — U.S. President Barack Obama has accused Pakistan of having connections with “unsavoury characters” in Afghanistan, and warned that in order to maintain a long-term relationship, Islamabad must heed Washington’s concerns.
At a White House press conference Obama said that “There’s no doubt that we’re not going to feel comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan if we don’t think that they’re mindful of our interests as well.”
Obama said: “There is no doubt that there’s some connections that the Pakistani military and intelligence services have with certain individuals that we find troubling.”
He said he believes Pakistani authorities have “hedged their bets in terms of what Afghanistan would look like. And part of hedging their bets is having interactions with some of the unsavory characters who they think might end up regaining power in Afghanistan after coalition forces have left.”
Last month, Admiral Mike Mullen, then serving as the top U.S. military officer, called the Islamist Haqqani network in Afghanistan “a veritable arm of Pakistan’s internal services intelligence agency.”
U.S.-Pakistani tensions — strained since the U.S. raid that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this year — have increased following Mullen’s remarks.