US should be prepared to walk away from Pakistan: Levin

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Senator Carl Levin
Washington, Oct 22: Talking tough, a top US Senator has warned that Washington would end its ties with Islamabad if it fails to crack down on Haqqani network.

Counselling that US should be prepared to walk away from Pakistan, Senator Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the partnership with Pakistan should end if Islamabad does not change its ways.

"Our response should be that if the only option Pakistan presents us is a choice between losing an ally and continuing to lose our troops, then we will choose the former," Levin said in an address at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Joining in rising clamour by American leadership to push Pakistan to take hard action against the Haqqani militants, killing American forces in Afghanistan, Levin pointed out that the US had the ability to target militants without Pakistan's help, the Washington Post reported.

The US "should be prepared to take steps to defend our troops," he declared.

His tough talking comes on the foot-steps of blunt message delivered in Islamabad by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who warned Pakistan that it would have to pay a "very big price" if it didn''t take action against militant groups.

The US Congress is already contemplating to turn off the aid spigot to Pakistan.

"We have the right to target not only forces and artillery attacking our forces in Afghanistan from across the border in Pakistan," Levin said, "but to target the people controlling those forces as well."

Levin said he hoped that Pakistan would see that it was in its own interests to preserve its military and economic ties with the US by publicly renouncing the Haqqani network and other groups. But he also said that the government''s failure to do so would be a "show-stopper" for normal ties with the US.

PTI

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